Was "Voluntary Committal" about writing?

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Was "Voluntary Committal" about writing?

Postby porkchop on Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:48 pm

I first started to think that when Morris said,
"This way won't do what it's supposed to. I need to work on it some more. It is't right yet."

Doesn't that sound like something a writer would say?

He had these tools, and at first they were just toys he could walk away from. Later, they mastered him a little, but later still, he figured them out and created something really powerful. It seemed like the creative process itself to me. At first I thought I might be making this up (not that there's anything wrong with that--it's why I like short horror stories: they're over just when your imagination is warmed up, so you're primed to relate to the monster in a deep and personal way...), but then, if the story isn't about creativity, why is the narrator so pointedly lacking imagination?

When I read about Morris' tunnels, it felt like I was looking at a crude but fully functional model of his brain, spread out all over the floor. It was like... there were places in his head where he could be totally lost, and though years of dilligence, he was finally able to get the inside of his head out into the world where other people could get in.

This story really scared me. I read some James Herriot when it was over, to cheer myself up.
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Re: Was "Voluntary Committal" about writing?

Postby Betsy_Boo on Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:06 pm

James Herriot! Good idea, PC. When I get scared like that I usually try to find an old sitcom like "I Love Lucy" or "Cheers" on tv to get my mind off it!

I like your ideas about "Voluntary Committal". I can really how it could be a metaphor for the creative process, especially Morris's single minded-ness (even though in his case it is due to a disability...now I'm curious if creative people sometimes see their art as a disability!). I really like the idea that the tunnels were "a crude but fully functional model of his brain".
You know, "Pop Art" and "Voluntary Committal" are my 2 favorite short stories of Joe's so far and I love hearing other folks ideas about them. There are threads about all the stories from 20thCG...I'd love to read your ideas about all of them. Oh yeah...and welcome!
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Re: Was "Voluntary Committal" about writing?

Postby porkchop on Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:22 pm

thanks for noticing my post :).

James Herriot can cure a lot more than worm-in-the-tail!

I don't know...disability... I think creative people have a struggle to communicate that might feel like what an autistic person experiences. But who could know? When I took creative writing, the class agreed that they would give up their sanity if it meant they could be great writers, and I told them they were morons.

Anyway, I didn't think so hard about the other stories, though I agree with you that Pop Art was wonderful. It reminded me of my dad, because one of us will have an idea, and then we'll kick it around for a while until it gets really interesting.

I don't know why this story was so scary. Maybe it was the infinite black void. Maybe I'm more responsive to the constant threat of mortality when it isn't bundled up with a bunch of morals and feelings. The other stories I'm afraid of are S King's "room 1408" and "The Jaunt." There's something about menace so pure that it isn't really menace, it just IS, and you can't use cunning or willpower against it.
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Re: Was "Voluntary Committal" about writing?

Postby Betsy_Boo on Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:06 pm

I like the way you think, PC. I don't know why I found "VC" uplifting rather than scary, yet the two stories of SK's you mentioned scared the crap out of me. I thought "My Father's Mask" was scarier than "VC"...I couldn't stop thinking about that one for days afterward. It's interesting what different people find scary, don't you think?
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Re: Was "Voluntary Committal" about writing?

Postby Betsy_Boo on Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:08 pm

BTW, once upon a time I might've been one of those folks who would give up their sanity to be a great writer, but now I agree with you. They're morons. Everybody has gifts.
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Re: Was "Voluntary Committal" about writing?

Postby porkchop on Thu Mar 19, 2009 7:27 am

Yeah, not worth it. Even F Scott Fitzgerald only wrote when he was sober.

"My Father's Mask" WAS scary. I felt so confused/satisfied at the end.
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Re: Was "Voluntary Committal" about writing?

Postby grasking on Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:52 pm

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Re: Was "Voluntary Committal" about writing?

Postby LauraK on Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:19 pm

Wow!! Thanks fort hat link, G. That was amazing! The belief that I'll never ever take a mind-altering drug like LSD has just been further cemented by that.

This one actually made jump back a bit.....
http://www.cowboybooks.com.au/pictures/ATdrawing6.jpg

What must his mind have been seieng/experiencing? *No thanks*

To topic- porkchop, I loved this story and could relate to it. It was bittersweet to me and one of my favorite JH stories. I like your take on it, though. :)
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Re: Was "Voluntary Committal" about writing?

Postby Shane on Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:15 pm

LauraK wrote:This one actually made jump back a bit.....
http://www.cowboybooks.com.au/pictures/ATdrawing6.jpg



Laura -- this isn't meant unto you specifically, but I'm going to use your recent post here to illustrate (pardon the pun) a point I want to remind people about regarding the board here.

We've got plenty of new names here, and that's great. Still plenty of mainstay names too, and that's equally as great. I don't know how many of you have actually taken time to read the FAQ for the board, but I would suggest everyone at some point, hopefully sooner than later, give it a go. It's not terribly long, and it's got a fair amount of information within it.

http://joehillfiction.informe.com/forum/come-on-in-and-say-hello-f1/faq-rules-t317.html

The reason I'm bringing this up now is because I want to remind everyone about Hotlinking. It's a section I specifically address in the FAQ, and I just want to make sure people know that they can put up images in here, so long as it's done in the correct way. It's easy to just grab the image link from wherever you see it and cut-n-paste it in your post, but that isn't the way it needs to be done. Again, Laura, not picking on you, but you just happen to be the latest of several I've had to address lately, so I thought a reminder would be in order.

As a result of that, I've removed the picture from Laura's reply above.

Laura, if you host the image somewhere of your own, just PM me the link to it, and I'll be glad to put it back up for you. Otherwise, the link has to be there instead.

Alright. Thanks, all!
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Re: Was "Voluntary Committal" about writing?

Postby LauraK on Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:56 am

Sorry.....you know I've always put any pics @ photobucket first. Forgot this time, that pic shocked me so.
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Re: Was "Voluntary Committal" about writing?

Postby Betsy_Boo on Wed Apr 22, 2009 6:13 pm

This discussion reminds me of a good book...TOUCHED BY FIRE by Jamison. In it she talks about the connection between artistic greatness and mental illness. Think about it...Poe, Plath, Woolfe, Van Gogh...you could go on and on. I find the subject fascinating.
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Re: Was "Voluntary Committal" about writing?

Postby Shane on Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:39 pm

LauraK wrote:Sorry.....you know I've always put any pics @ photobucket first. Forgot this time, that pic shocked me so.


Don't worry about it -- everyone in here is really great at doing this, and I know sometimes it's just something that's slipped one's mind in the rush of typing and pasting. Just wanted to remind everyone that's all, and sorry for making you the example! =)
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Re: Was "Voluntary Committal" about writing?

Postby Betsy_Boo on Sat Jul 04, 2009 5:06 pm

Speaking of "Voluntary Committal", today I transplanted some sunflowers to my backyard that I grew from seed. I do hope they grow well...if they do, I'll post a picture! This is for you, Joe! :)
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