Monday, March 30, 2009

Do The Write Thing

"See what is invisible and you will see what to write."
~Love Song for Bobby Long

In between cranking out orders for cards, I've been working hard on my novel. It feels strange to even say that... "my novel." Speaking it feels at once pretentious and determined, but it feels good too. More than just creating, writing is a form of therapy for me. It puts things into perspective, orders events, and allows me to travel at whim (albeit only in my mind). If I think about it, I've been writing forever - it's only now that I'm letting myself write with a real sense of focus. It's like walking long distance. The muscles are already there, they just need to be flexed and toned. So, while in some ways it feels completely natural, it's hard work and requires a great deal of tenacity. The birth process of anything is almost always painful. Sometimes it's painful in an "oh my fucking god, please make it stop" way; sometimes it's painful in an almost pleasant itchy way; and sometimes it's just a tug or a low throb.

Writing is also a conundrum - while it does in many ways take me outside of myself, it is also a merciless intruder into the very deepest core of my spirit. Someone once said, "You can't write what you don't know." So, writing stems from experience and re-visiting experience, even the nice ones, is at the very least bittersweet. I understand now why so many writers are alcoholics. It can be maddening.

all my life
where there's white
I have words
so I write"
~Jane Siberry, Seven Steps to the Wall

But I love it. I love it the way one falls in love upon seeing a stranger in a crowd and instantly realizing that he or she could spend the rest of their life getting to know that person; I love it the way a mother loves a restless crying child through a dark night; I love it with all the tenderness of nursing a dear one through a grave illness; I love it with all the glittering joy at seeing a loved one smile and knowing it's meant just for me; I love it whether it succeeds or fails. Writing is a relationship and it may be my most serious relationship yet, but I've fallen hard now and there's no denying the bond.

This is a lover like no other. At times we frustrate each other. At times we fall into a deep passion that denies the existence of anything else. At times we step around each other as couples do in a long term relationship dance, touching lightly, lingering in a gaze. And we never get to spend enough time together - there simply is not time enough in a day for this tangle of heartbeats.
"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live."
~Henry David Thoreau

I can do this.

1 comment:

  1. Reading this post made me feel deeply jaded and cynical. Also a little nostalgic - remembering what it was like to be in love with the process of writing.

    I understand the need to write. The compulsion. And I know how good it can feel when it's really flowing, but the writing life can be hard and heartless. I hope it treats you better than it did me!


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