After January 7th, the day I graduate with an MFA in Creative Writing, I will put my previous writing goals aside for one year in the pursuit of fun. I will remind myself of what I wanted to write before I had a plan. I will re-inhabit my senses. I will move out of my head and into my hands, my feet, my breath. I need the natural world. I will not waste time justifying my need to be outside. I will just go. At the end of the day, I am solely responsible for the wellness of me, and I know in my heart that if I don’t open again to the world around me, I will wither. Every time I’m tempted to say Yes, I will evaluate the impact of Yes, and I will choose No more often (even if it means eating less chocolate). When I’m not over-committing myself, I’m more present to the beauties in life. When I wish for more time to write, I will remember that fully inhabiting my life inspires the richest prose. This year, I will let go of my “writing life” so that I can find, again, that life that demands I write.
Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page
Early in school, we learn to tackle word problems in math class by drawing a picture, making a chart, creating a number sentence. And we learn to think out loud while doing it, by talking through our strategies with classmates and teachers, and recording our steps in a math journal.
Our world is full of word problems, isn’t it? Writing is a strategy to solve them. I write through to the other side, thinking out loud by recording my thoughts on the page. Most often, I’m not looking for a concrete solution, but a better understanding, a framework to categorize, a metaphor to inspire, a release from anger or sadness, an
awareness that I didn’t have before. Sometimes it’s just for entertainment. Sometimes it’s just to satisfy an urge, to scratch an itch. Sometimes, though, I really am looking for a concrete solution.
I also write to be part of the community of writers. My closest friends are writers. From interaction, of course, I know a lot about them already. But reading their words is such a gift, because I get to learn how their brains think, how they work through problems. My knowledge of them becomes much more intimate.
We take risks for catharsis. We gamble with our raw and vulnerable parts. While passion and vision drive us, they also gnaw on us.
This is where writers fall by the wayside. Subject to a victim mentality – “oh it’s so hard, oh this is my soul.” All that may be true. But to prosper in the long run, writers must be fighters.
We pluck our words from open spirits and tender nerves, and we must protect ourselves. But not by whimpering.
Doubt is part of the ride, fear is part of the ride. Inspiration just feels a hell of lot better. Confidence just feels a hell of a lot better.
We must be brave. And smart. And patient. And kind to ourselves. It’s never a waste of time. We learn and grow on every page.
Some days we limp into the storm clouds. When the magic nudges you, use it. When it’s not there, one foot at a time. One sentence at a time.
Let emotion inspire and move you, literally move you. When it freezes your bones, go tough and logical. Yin-yang. We’re only human. Sometimes we need a “there there,” a pat on the back, or a kick in the bum.
It’s not you versus the world. Your day job isn’t trying to stop you.
We must maintain that warrior spirit. Stay athletic. Trudge through the strains and lactic acid. Stretch and ice as needed, champ.
I write to create. I write because I love to read. I write because I love words, how they wrestle in my brain, tumble off my tongue, and blend into narrative. I write because I am a word junkie, a literature freak, an addict. I write because like a dealer, I am pushing my current high, and as the high wears off and the inevitable crash eclipses, I write to share the lowliness. I write because I am self-indulgent. I write to process feelings, experiences, memories.
I write to learn about nature and humanity. I write to teach. I write to effect change. I write to question authority. I write hoping the population will mutate from drones of nuclear, capitalistic, worker bees into rebels that take flight and sting the perpetrators of oppression. I write to remind. I write so others will not feel alone but part of something beyond themselves, connected, interdependent, one.
I write to ensure my existence, to confess my secrets so that when I die others can relate to how messed up I was, or how unusual, or how maybe I was not unusual at all. I write for redemption. I write to remember.
I write because I have an active mind and sometimes the only way to make sense of life is to write it down. I write to keep from going crazy, insane, berserk, nuts, schizoid, kaput. I write because I am human. I write to hope. I hope to write.