I’ve recently committed myself to 3 “morning pages” per day. For the 3 days that I’ve done these, they’ve mainly consisted of reflections about my writing, which has been helpful, and has also raised some questions.
Yesterday I found myself reflecting on a piece I planned to write based on the recent mouse plague in our kitchen. Having scribbled down some initial images, I was pondering where to take these ideas. A poem would lend itself well to the strong imagery I wanted to use. But, I also thought, perhaps our mice would do well in a short story too. In my morning pages I wrote something like, “I’m not sure yet what this piece wants to be.”
What it wants to be… It struck me as such a strange idea. To think of a story or poem as a separate being with a mind of its own. As a free-thinking agent.
Should a piece of writing be able to want anything? Does this kind of attitude make me a lazy writer? Shouldn’t I be wrangling my words in whatever way I want? If I sit back and let a story guide itself, it may have an internal logic, but will it be the best story or poem that it can be?
I don’t have an answer to these questions, but they’re things that my morning pages brought up for me today.
What do you think? Can stories or poems have a mind of their own? Should they?