Michael Jordan’s Zone

Researching, I came across a couple books referenced for writing fiction. One suggested book was preceded by ‘To go deeper…” I found that book in a local library. Some books I begin to read and my whole body nods. From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction by Robert Olen Butler http://www.robertolenbutler.com/writings/non-fiction/from-where-you-dream/ is a body nodder.

Butler speaks of the artist’s ‘zone’. Writing from the unconscious. He mentions working with the football coach of the university where he was teaching. Both discovered their work to be quite similar to one another.

“Now, there’s one big difference between the athlete’s zone and the artist’s zone,” explains Butler, “When Michael [Jordan] received a pass at the top of the key in full flight and he left the ground, he defied gravity, floated through the air, let the ball roll off his fingertips and into the basket. Tongue unconsciously extended. When he did that he had to be in the zone…But to make his zone exactly analogous to the art zone, you have to add this: every time he shoots, in order to make a basket Michael Jordan would have to confront, without flinching, the moment when his father’s chest was blown apart by the shotgun held by his kidnapper…Now his zone is equal to the artist’s zone. And now you understand the challenge of being an artist.” p.22

See what I mean?