The creative writing manifesto of Anthony D Redden (in the style of F.T. Marinetti 1909)
I have been up all night, and many nights before, hidden behind my laptop’s screen, bathed in its electric glow, as my heart is laid out exposed in all its vulnerabilities for all to see. And when nature calls me, trampling underfoot my lord’s awful carpets of paisley red and threadbare to a shame, a pilgrimage of momentary quiet from the organising of chaotic thoughts which push to the very limits of creativity and frantic tapping of finger tips upon digital keys.
My heart is filled with anticipation and anguish as I stand quite alone upon the edge of this precipice, like a lighthouse or solitary centurion, facing an army of enemy stars encamped within a celestial battleground. I am the lone engineer within this infernal machine, spinning controllably through the vastness, through the great void. Alone amongst the many dark spirits that rage within the belly of this rogue locomotive, alone with the drunkards beating their bleeding fists against the walls.
Then the silence increases. I am left again with nothing but my own selfish prayers to an unnamed God, a muse, an invisible mirror of me, that they might guide this shaking, uncertain hand.
“Come, my friend!” I say. “Let us go together! To leave behind the entrapments of distraction, the ‘Games of Thrones’ and ‘The Walking Dead’s’. We are being called, by greater things than us, to be present at the birth of Angels. We must break down the gates of reality to test the bolts and the padlocks! Let us go to witness the very first sunrise on Earth! Nothing shall equal the splendour of the blessed strike of our sword upon the metal of our prison wall within the millennial darkness.”
I approach the great snorting monstrosity to nestle within its breast, to lie like a soon to be revived corpse at the altar of the machine. The archaic mechanical God that feeds upon sacrifices of words and anguish. It demands you to bleed beneath its guillotine blade. A momentary relapse to another world of mundane chores angers the darkness, that of dishes and of ironing and of ‘read the kids a story’. Well I will read the kids a story my friends, and I do. Then I am back, back in the throes of madness, challenging the very Gods of creation at their own game. I hunt like the youthful lion, full of lust and vigour, chasing helpless gazelles and tearing apart the throats of men. I am the beast that stands beneath a neon sky, surrounded by my robotic super men and women with whom we overturn tyrannous rulers and win the favour of the sexy princess. That is me my friends, and that is you. We can be the lords of our own destiny and nobody can hold us down. No queens nor kings control our fate, we have no mistresses to sate this night. We have no reason to die unless it be the desire to rid ourselves of the great burden of our own awesomeness.
“Let us leave good sense behind us, like a hideous husk and let us hurl ourselves with raw nakedness into the very mouth of the world. A human fruit, freshly unsheathed and moist. Let us feed the unknown, let us nourish and enrich the masses!”
But no sooner do I say these words than words of another, as strong and as passionate as my own are cast in my direction. Words that stop me in my tracks and halt all thoughts of revolution. Words all creative men and women bow down to and humble to their utterance. “Do you want a cuppa?”
Yes of course I want a bloody cuppa. Every word I have ever written has been fuelled by a cup of something dark and hot. That steaming muddy water that makes my heart beat like humming birds wings. I savour each mouthful of that strengthening muck, that roasted nectar. It compliments the familiar fabric of my slippers and the soothing comfort of my lumbar support cushion. And with my nerves a jitter and my brain amok, I deliver this, my first will and testament to all living creatives on earth. My manifesto.
1. I must be the fire that grows my online presence. Never underestimate the power of social media. Use it. If I have something worth saying, then it is worth reading. However, if my work is never read, what is the purpose of writing it. It would be like cooking a feat which will never be eaten. Increasing my online presence, increases the amount of people exposed to my work. Not just by self-promotion, but by mutual promotion. For when I share the work of others they are more likely to share mine. People can only read my work if they can find my work and as the stretch of social media increases, the world becomes smaller, and in that world more voices are being heard. Social media itself is now a tool in the writer’s arsenal.
2. I am a writer. I am a storyteller. I write for me. I write for you. I write to exercise daemons and to create new ones. I write because it has purpose. I write to create new fantastical worlds that have as of yet lain undiscovered. I write to explore the hidden stories contained with the most miniscule of mundane details. I write to be me.
3. I must be professional. To consider myself with high regard and worth. I must know that what I write has value and that my contribution to literature is legitimate. If I do not take myself seriously as a writer, then why should anyone else.
4. Creativity comes from inspiration. I must be shameless in what inspires me. Listen to music, read books, watch movies, go to plays, travel the world, talk to people. Live.
5. Do not censor myself. Do not restrict my imagination by shying away from extreme or controversial content. In order to be true to myself, to find my voice, to discover the story, I need to allow my creative side the freedom to do so. Be daring, let nothing be taboo. Great stories sometimes emerge from unexpected places. Censoring myself is potentially preventing that next great story from germinating.
6. I write because I want too. Because I love to be creative. Sometimes my inspiration runs dry. I must not be ashamed of looking for story prompts or submission calls if they initiate a renewed creativity. Writing to order has produced some of my most surprising and imaginative pieces. Look at every opportunity to write as an opportunity to grow and develop as a writer.
7. Every piece of work should be better than the last.
8. Connect with my readers. As the mythical barriers drop between commodity and consumer, so too is the value and legitimacy of an item related to the legitimacy of its creator. Readers expect to connect with their authors, to create a bond, a familiarity.
9. There are more books than anyone will ever read. More authors than anyone will ever meet or know. Books are cheaper and instantly accessible. How do you float within this ocean? How do you become seen amongst these millions of others? Think outside the box.
10. Know my limitations. Do what I do and let others do what they do. The term ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ is not true. A cover is most likely the first thing to draw a prospective reader. Take great care in producing a quality cover.
11. Many have come before, and many will come after, but there is only one me.
12. I have permission not to write. There are many important things to treasure in this world, but always remember that life is fleeting. Be a writer, but remember that I am also a husband, a father and a son. I can be all those things, but not necessarily at the same time. Take time to write, but never sacrifice time with my family. Some may say that I will never truly make it as an author if I don’t dedicate enough time to it, but we know that that is okay. I can accept that. Because family comes first. Love comes first. If I have love and happiness, then I will never fail.
“Now look at us!” I yell. “Look at what we have done. Imagine what is yet to come, for what we have already birthed is nought in comparison. A storm is upon the horizon and it is of our making. For we are not yet out of breath and our hearts are not in the least tired. And what of your objections? Enough! Enough! We know them…we understand. But our unashamed deceitful intelligence tells us we are the future and we do not need your blessing. Woe to anyone who tries to subdue us with criticism and cynicism. Your words will consume you. Lift up your heads my brothers and sisters. And standing yet again before the edge of eternity, I will launch once more my insolent challenge to the stars! I am a writer!