Sunday, February 7, 2010

On Writing

Right now, I’m on an excursion within myself that goes a lot deeper than I care to discuss here.

However, there are aspects of this quest – legs of this journey – that truly belong here.  They unfold here.  This blog, this collection of thoughts and emotions, this trail of bread crumbs, is my mirror.  Sometimes it’s a rearview mirror, but a mirror nonetheless.

In particular, this piece of my life I share with you all here is my writing.  The writer in me is an adolescent, itching to spread her wings and explore.  She is passionate and wide-eyed.  But, her youthful ignorance is tempered by respect for masters and teachers of the craft.

I read about writing.  I practice in my notebooks daily.  I journal privately, and have nearly as long as I can remember.  I join communities of writers chasing down the ever elusive advice and feedback that will help me grow and learn.  And sometimes, as I try to improve my skill, I find that I am really working on my soul.

Anne Lamott wrote in Bird by Bird, that in order to be a writer, you have to be reverent.  This line made itself at home in my mind immediately.  It is an observation I’ve noted many times before. 

Writing comes from within.  It is record of a journey.  It is a trail of emotions, visions and experiences.  Writers look at the world from outside their body.  They are in tune with their sensory memory and can efficiently retrieve those moments in words.

february 005 I tell my students (at times, near daily) that writing occurs somewhere between your mind, your heart, and the page.  Sounds obvious, but what I mean is – when you write, you do not look to the world for the words.  You dig deeper.  You turn your eyes, your focus, your energy inward and climb into the core of your gut and bury yourself in the tiny corner of your abdomen that holds it.  The feeling.  The moment.  There, you will find the words. 

Sometimes it is harder than others.  Sometimes you really have to push.  Like holding your breath under water, you have to resist the urge to pop up.  Stay there through the burning, breathless sting.  Let the tears flow.  Laugh out loud.  Feel the pain in your hand as the page and pen bruise its back. 

Now, you’re getting to the good stuff.

To me, writing is quite personal and spiritual.  This, I believe is why, as my friend noted, writers love and crave an audience, but do not require one.  While, of course, some words are light-hearted and don’t really “rock the world”, if you will, much of it is an expression of an Achilles heel.  Whether the words are fiction or fact, there is a sense of vulnerability that accompanies the click of the “publish” button.  And, when you have the opportunity to read your writing aloud – no matter how good it might be – it is like standing naked before those listening.  Breathing deeply is only a memory.

So today, dear readers – and I do mean dear readers – I want to say thank you.  Thank you for embarking on this journey with me.  Thank you for your company and your kind words.  Know that, as my writing and I mature and change, I am extremely grateful to borrow your ear, if only on a rare occasion.

I will always welcome your comments, private or public.  I am always open to discuss.  And I will continue to stand before you – baring myself and my work – as long as you will have me.


  1. Oh man, LOVE it. You are so right about it being a spiritual journey. And your simile - "it is like standing naked before those listening" - YES!

    On an unrelated note... did you take that pic? If so, a) great pic and b) you have BEAUTIFUL handwriting!

  2. Yes, I took it. That's how I wrote the "Someone mentioned foie gras" post...over the course of a day, in stolen moments.

  3. <3 Can't wait to see where this goes!

  4. i love this. and i agree with colleen. :)

  5. love this post! Have marked it so i can go back and be inspired when the words get stuck! Really a joy to read!


Care to comment? Be my guest! Just remember, be classy -- not too sassy! (My young fans may be reading!)

Related Posts with Thumbnails