Friday, February 12, 2010

On Writing

“ Your power lies in recognizing your weaknesses; strength lies in admitting them. Freedom is felt with their acceptance. Courage comes with careful action. Honor lies in doing it all with a pure heart.” Edurtreg Namrekcuz

What kind of writer are you? I’m every kind. I like writing non- fiction; reporting news, current events, social commentary and the frequent opinion piece. (Rant) I enjoy delving into my novel I delight in spurts of poetry and wandering into short story territory. Bur most of all I enjoy being in the mood to produce.

It is a state of being where everything comes together like a laser beam and falls word for word onto the page just as this piece I’m writing now is doing.

The process of writing is in the pleasure. I like the pause put in by the comma, the change of idea signaled by the semi colon; and the full stop to breath, a period provides.

I like the art and craft of writing although I didn’t always. I once dreaded approaching the blank page or screen. In my mind, I built up writing as a Herculean task to avoid.

Then I read a book by Robert Fitz, The Path of Least Resistance, in which he describes in the first chapter the theme of the book. Everything, water, cows and people, seek the path of least resistance when going from one point to another. Well written, Fitz uses both humor and brevity to make his point, as he describes how the roads in Boston were built from existing cow paths, continuing his analogy involving building a structure that allows creativity to flow.

It’s taken me about 25 years, but I think I’ve done, just about that. I’m sitting in my dining room, writing this down, on a piece of loose-leaf paper. I’ve eaten breakfast, washed my vitamins down with coffee. Practiced a bit of yoga and exercised all week. I’ve slept well, and don’t recall any major domestic squabbles with the husband or kids. My week included girlfriend time, where we aired hopes, shared dreams.

Now it seems I’m free to write. I need a lot of different things to be in order, before the writing begins. Sometimes the dishes must be washed, meals made and the bathroom wiped down.

Other times, like this, I begin one such chore and the words from my syllabus, a question I pose, what kind of writer are you, pop into my head as I’m rinsing a mug while keeping in mind that there are plums to be picked from the drooping branches of a decrepit tree in my back yard. Thunk.

My focus is drawn to the words rushing up one bumbling behind the other, higgly piggly jostling for space in my brain. In a trance, I turn off the tap, giving in like a hostage, by a swarm of ideas. I place the mug in the drain board. I cross the threshold of dining room where I lay my hands on a pen and some loose leaf, buried under the week’s worth of publi sac flyers and old newspapers.

The pad is blank except for a line I’d scrawled across the top in a moment of inspiration, some time ago, which had since fled.

A novel approach, it said. Followed by about 50 empty lined pages. I’m charmed for a moment by the word play before that phrase is left to die on the page and the proverbial torrent of this writing pours forth. I try to bridle this wild flow keeping to one idea per sentence, each obeisent paragraph following the next until I’m now winding up what I have to say.

My son Brendan cranks up the music on the computer in my office. The outside world begins to creep into my concentration but like an athlete who’s trained for 25 years I stay on task. Maybe that first sentence or a first word will break the curse of a blank page and it’s endless well of false fears. I don’t know what inspired the phrase a novel approach or if it will go anywhere else besides right here right now.

But I do know that in the beginning was the word. I can stop here or continue, as I am now free, free to create, free to write what ever I want whenever I want because I’m a writer. I’m the decider and I’ve decided. That this is what is. My reality lies here on the page inside what is thought, felt or observed, savored or repelled. Spun into fiction word by word, woven from ideas and then made into worlds. Ripe plums are falling no further than my own back yard. Harvest what is ready, pluck what is near, enjoy what is yours share it.

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So you think you want to write? well, why not. Take the first step. Put one word on a page. Leave it. Come back. Look. Then, just for fun, write.

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