In hamlet, Writing Manifestos on 02/28/2011 at 15:06
I write because I think I can live without it, and I do for a time, but then I realize a part of me is dying of thirst.
I write to give voice to the dialogue in my head and to quiet the narrative that walks me through the day.
I write to purge my bitter resentment and therefore maintain my ability to be kind.
I write for all the frustrated artists. I don’t want to be one. I’d be poisonous.
I don’t write because of the dishes, the laundry, the mess, because of my endless proclivity for getting lost on the internet, and because my other writing–the day-job kind–comes so easily and with such a reward.
I don’t write because it feels too self-indulgent.
I don’t write for fear of failure—but more because of fear of success. You see, if this actually begins to yield to me, some vague looming worry may replace my companionable writing-related anxiety. It’s a “what dreams may come” dilemma.
I can’t be such a Hamlet.
So this year, I will write and write, through political and personal melodrama. I will access truth, unobscured by the humor that screens me from the dark places.
I will tap into the fearlessness I use when confronting Sarah Palin, and use it to confront my characters.
I will see myself in the company of my pen-wielding heroines, and I will not shrink away from the mirror.
–Sarah Marian Seltzer
In Songwriting Manifestos, This Revolution on 02/16/2011 at 16:08
It was dreadfully cold in a New Hampshire cabin when I lit my first fire and began dabbling with some of my new song ideas for a new album. It was December 2008. I stared into the fireplace as my eyes became fixed on the warming flesh of the now flowing orange logs burning and crackling. The process of songwriting is different almost every time, but there is an ebb and flow that still remains consistent. I am able to determine quite quickly whether a song feels like it is heading in the right direction or whether it needs a whole lot of work. When a song feels right, I get a tingling sensation on my neck and there is a small sense of euphoria that percolates in my brain. When a song feels difficult and strenuous, my mouth becomes very dry. It’s a very odd and visceral reaction, but yet a comforting one, in that my body and brain seem linked together in ways that both reward me and warn me depending on the song.
The new album was a two and half year project that took me from an office day-job and then between Oregon, New York, and New Hampshire to write. I wanted to make an album that started organically and didn’t feel hurried. I wanted the songs to truly connect with those who listened. Like the flow of writing music, the album too, needed to be a series of proverbial peaks and valleys, both sonically and emotionally. The album that was born is called This Revolution. It is a cyclical record that encompasses a feeling of internal revolutions and struggles we all face to be happy in our lives. As in life, the album is heavy in some moments, lighter in others, but the overall ethos is that we as humans will be fine. We love, we lose, we gain, we strive and we hope to rise within our own revolutions when we have them.
In Oatmeal for Dinner, Writing Manifestos on 02/02/2011 at 09:32
I write because in the space between two necessary tasks at the kitchen counter, the driveway out the window becomes a sea with a skiff and a captain’s wife, and I break eggs in a cup of coffee. I call my children by names they’ve never heard before, and they answer, accustomed to tenderhearted neglect. When I drive along Route 9, my car, like public transportation, fills with ill-matched characters, imagined, their cloying scents and snazzy belongings sharing an unlikely destination. Scenes begin, and end, and I forget the cream for the dinner quiche. I think about the syntax in conversations at the post office. In class, I embellish the curriculum and insert read alouds every possible chance I get. At the store, I yell out words from packages that rhyme and delight me, like a tic, or Tourette’s. The DSM has names for people like me, and women in history who heard voices have long been sent to lackluster buildings to die tiresome deaths. But, I see the writing on the walls, and in the fields, and the faces looking up at me from the pond. The stories on the cluttered landscape are the ones I must tell. I will keep the pencils sharpened, and the laptop charged, but I will write in everything I do, and when someone asks, I will call myself a writer, without the catch in my throat, and we will have oatmeal for dinner again.