Problem Solving, Truth Finding, Circle Drawing

Welcome to my blog, Ground One.

Ground Zero :  Function:  noun; Date:  1946 ~ 1: the point directly above, below, or at which a nuclear explosion occurs; 2: the center or origin of rapid, intense, or violent activity or change; 3: the very beginning .

Ground One:  Function: verb; Date: 2008 ~ 1: to create a new beginning from an ending, starting from the ground up; 2: to use one’s  life beliefs and values to break new ground; 3: to ground oneself; i.e., to become one with the earth or universal whole; 4: to journey within to find new solutions to ancient problems;  5:  to use one’s unique individual gifts to improve the whole; 6: to find common ground among a diversity of cultures, philosophies, and ideas.

“My books are the books that I am, the confused man, the negligent man, the reckless man, the lusty, obscene, boisterous, scrupulous, lying, diabolically truthful man that I am.”

–Henry Miller


I saw a wonderful movie last night, The Fall. It’s a superb blend between fantasy and reality, and the cyclical effect they have on one another. Art imitating life, and vice versa. It’s an artist’s and a traveler’s delight, with vivid colors, original costumes, and striking landscapes. It was shot in many different countries. If I was an envious person, I’d be envious of all that travel lavished upon the actors.

The movie prompted more thinking about the way I write. I start with reality, usually a life problem of my own I want to sort out and solve.  Then I usually dream about the problem, which is a sure sign I need to write about it. I usually journal the problem,  and then I begin to write creatively about it, deviating step by step—revision by revision–from the reality, but drawing ever nearer the truth—you guessed it, in a circular fashion. Usually the fifth or sixth time I journal about the problem, I either have a solution, or it becomes a story. Sometimes the story simply stays in my head, waiting for the day I want to access it from my memory bank. Sometimes the story ends up on paper.

With each iteration, the characters and plot change incrementally. The final result is a merging of different forms of my reality (past or present) and different snapshots of my fantasies and dreams (my imagination or desired future).  This method explains what some authors call a composite character, for example. I may never have met the character I’m writing about, but I have met his or her character traits. I may never visit Sudan, but I’ve dreamed of it several times, and I have been in Africa in conflict zones. I may only be dealing with a potential future, but since the future is fluid, dealing with possibility provides a grounding that helps me arrive at some sort of balance and decision. In addition, fiction is the best grief therapy I’ve ever discovered.

As I write, the story takes over, and the problem disappears. I either purge the problem on paper, or I arrive at a solution, or both. In the end, it’s a win-win situation. I end up cleansed, and readers—be they many or few—end up with a story to read. And maybe, just maybe, my story will help them arrive at solutions to their own problems.

See the movie, and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

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