Making Life Up as I Go Along

People have asked me why I write in present tense.  I mean, technically, as something happens, it becomes past tense, right?  But, I suppose my existential leanings come out in my writing.  It seems to me a scene happens as I type it onto a page.  And then it happens again, each and every time, as the reader enters into the scene.  So, the action is never really in the past, but exists on a continual loop of the present.

Okay, enough with the esoteric, quantum physics, high-brow explanations.  Here’s a truer reason I write in present tense.

Dad must have told a million stories in his lifetime.  I’m not exaggerating here.  Ask anyone who knew him. Richard Foster was either a world-class storyteller or a pathological liar, depending on who you talk to.  Nobody told a tale any better than he did.

Here’s an example of how each and every story started:

“Guy walks into Joe’s bar.  You know, the joint on the corner of ‘C’ and Second where they used to have pole dancers back in the 60’s.  Bartender is Whitey Clark, used to be married to Sue Ellen Jones, itty-bitty thing with the fire engine red hair and a wart on her nose big as a bing cherry.  So, anyway, this guy walks in and asks Whitey. . .”

Never once did Dad start a story in past tense.

His subconscious insistence on present tense was, in large part, because he made life up as he went along.  And so do I.



About Author and Speaker Pamela Foster

Pamela Foster is a speaker and author. Her first book, Redneck Goddess, is available at local bookstores and on Amazon. Her second book, Bigfoot Blues, will be available in August 2012.
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One Response to Making Life Up as I Go Along

  1. Greg Camp says:

    You’re one of the few authors who can make this work. I have to bring in the ground penetrating radar to get an outline and then brush away at the story bit by bit.

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