Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Richard Bausch: the province of creation

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Jan• 07•24

Chapman University professor and author Richard Bausch says,”I create characters and put them in trouble and see how they behave. They don’t interest me unless they’re in trouble.”

Reprise Again

1975. Just out of the Iowa Workshop. Working adjunct at three different schools. And when it came time to work each night, would pace, near sick with fear, before I’d sit down to try it, try putting something down, anything. I don’t know why I was afraid, since NOTHING in one day’s work comes remotely near to defining ANYTHING about what you’re doing. It isn’t even an indication of anything. It’s hard. It confuses. You feel uninspired and flat. You look at a line and it starts to dissolve into all the other possibilities. And you get scared. What if it’s like this tomorrow? And what if it is ALWAYS like this. And? And? And? THIS is what frightens you? The territory? The very deepest nature of the thing itself? Of course it always is terribly hard because it’s coming into being and that’s always difficult. Welcome to the territory. The province of creation. The cave of making, as James Dickey called it. Who ever said it would be easy? It only LOOKS easy after you’ve done it and re-done it and re-done it again and again, as many times as it takes. It’s WORK. Hard work. And we’re lucky to have it to do. We should try to cultivate a healthy sense of respect for it, of course, while also learning to see the plain silliness of being afraid of one little step on the way to wherever it will take us. The whole thing is a lovely adventure. Something to celebrate.
~ Richard Bausch
{told you he was wise}

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