Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Write On

"I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten - happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another."
~Brenda Ueland

I don't know what to write.

Terri asked me the other day, "How do you come up with your ideas?" They come in a whole bunch of different ways - sometimes easily, sometimes not.

Sometimes, my ideas are like spawning salmon in my river of consciousness, and all I have to do is reach down and hook one with my paw. Sometimes I'll read a quote that will get me pondering. Sometimes I'll overhear a snippet of conversation that will give me an idea: my Christmas rants and a
song were born of observing a couple at Fred Meyer. She said, "What are we getting your mother?" He gave her a flat, uncaring look and said, "I don't care. It don't matter." Cue the bubbling stew that resulted in my rant.

On occasion, a single word, usually an adjective, will send me rolling along - this happens more often with my poetry, than with my posts here.

Some of my ideas begin as conversations in my head. Sounds insane, I know, but it works. I'll visualize a person and start with something like, "You know what bugs me...?" or "Hey, I was thinking...." or "Guess what?!" That person, because at that moment, they are in my head and entirely under my control, (MWAhahaha) inevitably replies, "Tell me all about it..."

A couple of times I've relied on my friend, Bill for topics. He's always good at challenging the deep thinker / philosopher in me. "Gimme a topic!" "Courage and Talent." Aye yi yi.... and the trigger is tripped.

Sometimes, as today, I'll simply begin with, "I don't know what to write." The ever feisty gypsy, unbidden, will respond with, "Bullshit... this is what's on my mind..." And, "I don't know what to write" gets deleted and replaced by a virtual tome.

For me, the act of writing is akin to flexing a muscle. The muscle is already there, it just needs a workout to wake it up. It requires a warm-up, an abuse session, and a cool down... and an internal, merciless trainer who keeps nagging, "Keep going... work it... work it!"

Some ideas come from memories, some from dreams, some from pictures or art, some from reading. Some come spilling out like so much rice from a broken bag. Some take time to germinate and show their buds. Some posts take half an hour to write, some take all day. Often, even though I generally write them in well under an hour, they've been brewing all night. As I drift off to sleep, I'm thinking, "Hmm... tomorrow's topic is... what do I have to say about it...?" It'll cook in the steam of my dreams and by the time I wake up and grab my first cup o' bean, it's ready to pour as well.

I started this blog (I still hate that word), as a way to exercise my writing skills, and as a way to spew some of the soul gunk that weighs me down. This li'l virtual brick wall is now nearly two months old. Honestly, even though I gave the link to almost everyone in my email address book, I didn't expect people to read. I certainly didn't expect that I'd have daily readers. I never would have guessed that my words would have such import to anyone. It's humbling - your faith keeps me faithful.

I'll keep writing, even when I don't know what to write. It feels good. If y'all have topics you want me to visit, feel free to email me. No guarantees, but if you know me at all, you know I'm going to be chewing them up until there's no more juice left. (One small caveat: I refuse to write about politics - don't ask me to.)

"If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it."
~Anais Nin

So breathe I.

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