I don’t write for a living, but i do write to live.
Corralling my meandering thoughts into coherence (with the lasso of language?) often feels like an act of survival.
I’ve long thought that describing myself as a writer doesn’t really say that much about me. In a similar way to saying i speak a second language, my ability to construct sentences with clarity tells you nothing about the value of what i have to say.
Sure, most writers (and even some non-writers who take the trouble) tend to find the exercise therapeutic. Beyond that, though, the exhilaration of putting contemplations into words arises from the hope that readers will be moved to connect these expressions to their own experience.
I know of writers who are so driven, they say they cannot *not* write. I’m not one of them. For me there is often a substantial distance between an idea and its execution (whether fiction or non-fiction).
A familiar exhortation for writers is, “Write what you know.” Well, here are a few things i have been coming to know lately…
…While i tend to be a natural optimist, i learned just how much the optimism tank holds by nearly emptying it.
…Unwellness is a thief, and pain lies to you about the future. Yet, what they steal on one day, i snatch back on another — in the elation that comes with relief.
…The back tires may have gone into a skid but i’m still facing forward.
When i was much younger, i believed i could be a writer. Then after years of doing very little actual writing, it occurred to me that maybe in order to have something worthwhile to say, i simply had more living to do first. Forgive the melodrama, but it turns out i had little bit of dying to do first as well.
Readers of this blog know that i enjoy collecting quotes. An old favorite is this from W.H. Auden:
“We are here on earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don’t know.”
If readers glean some small encouragement here, then maybe i’m fortunate enough to be doing what i was put on this earth to do.
1. ‘ “Write what you know.” ‘ …whereas Miles Davis said “Play what you don’t know.” This is corollary to The John Fahey Guarantee: “If you make yourself play the guitar except for breaks – cigarette, bathroom, whatever – for four to six hours, I can guarantee that you will come out of these sessions with something new: a composition, an arrangement, a fragment. This is the way the mind works. In order to conquer boredom and chaos, you cannot avoid coming up with something new.”
2. ‘ “What the others are here for I don’t know.” ‘ When I spoke with a friend about a particularly challenging interpersonal encounter, her response was, “See? He gave you a chance to practice compassion.” Actually I love the Auden, and love even more that you did not couple it with a meme line drawing of a wasp waisted woman in Victorian dress, holding a glass of wine. Cheers.
1. Fascinating quotes about musical creativity! Had not heard either of those.
2. Inspiring response from your friend – a heartening and constructive dash of encouragement.
3. Your meme description made me laugh out loud! Cheers to you as well… 🙂