Paper Pancakes and Subconscious Syrup

We are starting a little something different here at the Art Is Life Blog -- guest bloggers. One of our first writers is Best Tardy who has been a wonderful asset to the studio with his humor, words and candor. Below is a reflection he wrote about the writing process. We hope you enjoy!


Until late, I didn’t realized that there was a scene I was constantly writing over and over. A type of scene so specific, it felt like a piece of me. I had no idea why; this wasn’t something I’d ever taken any thought about before—and it certainly wasn’t anything I’d ever been interested in. But it just kept showing up at least once in all of my prose, no matter the genre.

This scene was one of a strategic war battle. Coming from me, Mr. Peace & Tolerance, it made absolutely no sense why it spewed out of me like yesterday’s leftovers. (Or why I hadn’t noticed it before.) But sure enough, guns and swords and army-like tactics poured into my thrillers, my poetry—my fictionalize autobiography.

(I don’t ever remember being a codenamed soldier fighting valiantly against the kids in my neighborhood.)

So I asked around to my writerly friends who had similar experiences, and it got me thinking: what do we love so much, we keep subconsciously implanting it into our writing?

It could be a certain word, phrase of dialogue, or even style, that dribbles like pancake syrup over everything we write. Is it the paper pancakes we really want or the enriched sap of the subconscious? Are we writing fictitious pancakes just to get a taste of that personal flavor?

When we create, it’s something special that exists with the most stability inside ourselves, rather than others. So what are we trying to tell ourselves with these things we never even imagined we could write? As much as we can justify that this is just what my story’s about, we lie to ourselves when seeing the words physically separated, as if they aren’t still in us.

Are those great novelists not their own work? Is Lewis Carroll not just as interesting and interested as Alice? Is J.K. Rowling not as wise and complex as Dumbledore? We create characters—but to deny that we are those things is a crime.

That goes for every scene we ever write, as well.

So, what are you telling yourself?


Best Tardy is an amateur overachiever, semi-professional novelist, fierce poet, and the all-around best man you’ll ever meet. Best has from Bipolar Disorder and Unflinching Terminal Intelligence (UTI), which he uses to make jokes in times of great crisis and unneed. Best is aware that you want to make puns off his name.

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