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Duende42: The duende of writing.

Duende42: The duende of writing.

But why have the Lorcian fight in the first place? What is it that compels us, as a species, to write?

I have already touched on in a previous edition that writing isn't a natural thing for us humans. We are wired for speech/listening but not for writing/reading.

!Kung San storyteller 1947

Long ago we learnt to tell stories. We told those stories for a number of reasons. Often those stories dealt with the struggles of being human. But animals dream of their own struggles.

French dream scientist Michel Jouvet conclusively determined that cats dream. He experimented on stray cats by cutting open their heads with bone saws. He played around with their brain stems attempting to 'turn off' the atonia or sleep paralysis.

Those cats that survived the poking around were observed acting out their dreams. Jouvet proved that not only do cats dream, but they dream about very cat things. Just as we dream about very us things. If I remembered any of my dreams, I'd happily recount such a dream, but alas, I wake each morning like a new born baby unburdened by past experiences.

There is a stark difference between a cat chasing mice or flies in a dream to what we do during our waking life.

Anton Chekhov wrote:

“You are confusing two notions, "the solution of a problem" and "the correct posing of the question". Only the second is essential for the artist.”
Anton Chekhov

We all struggle with problems. Cats struggle with catching mice. But the true reason we write is to articulate the problem.

The great cat novel could be a Tolstoyian struggle of why cats prey on another species, detailing to joy of the chase and then the benevolent reprieve all cats give the mouse, giving it a chance to escape only to change its mind and recapture it. A slow torture that is a metaphor for a cat's life.

In the human version of the above story, Tolstoy writes in War and Peace:

The totality of causes of phenomena is inaccessible to the human mind. But the need to seek causes has been put into the soul of man (page 987).

It is this "need", embedded deep within us that causes us to think beyond just the problem and seeks to unearth the cause of the problem.

The single best tool we have for this duende is writing. Writing is slow and deliberate. Just as reading is. And it is the perfect vehicle for the articulation of the problems that plague us today.

The question for the individual writer is obvious: where do I begin?

The answer is to list down your favourite problems. This can be accomplished by either doing a brain dump of everything that is rattling around in your head right now, or to observe your mind at work over a period of a few days.

Those things that you keep returning to are the problems that fascinate you, and things that you can unpack in an attempt to discover a way of framing it in new and interesting ways.