Category Archives: writing

Writing no matter what

I wish, no matter what, I could write for hours, no matter what, every day, no matter what. I know this to be near impossible for me.

For more years than I will think about I’ve hoped for that moment when I could get myself to sit down and write for hours at a time, every single day. I’ve read about writers who can tuck themselves away in their writing space, and pen away or tap keys for hours on a daily basis.  I keep wondering, what am I doing wrong? Or, am I a fraud as a writer? A fake of some kind? Something like that.

As true as it is that I’m not able to write for hours at a time with any kind of consistency, it’s equally true that I’d likely be a dead man if I did not write at all. It is near fact to say, I wouldn’t know how to function. It’s also stone-cold fact to say that in my darkest moments, writing and books have prevented my suicide.

I often write because I want to, I always write because I have too.

One writer’s internal dialogue

  • It’s time to do some writing.
  • Fuck me.
  • I’m serious.
  • I can tell.
  • You just –
  • One word down, then another –
  • And another, exactly.
  • You know what gets me?
  • What?
  • It sounds so easy. Just sit down, or stand, whatever works, and then just start writing anything. Just set words down and pay attention and the words will just come of their own accord.
  • That’s not so easy.
  • What – ?
  • “Words will just come of their own accord.” That’s an act of faith on your part. Faith that if you begin the words will follow. The weight’s on you to begin, then it’s pretty much stay the hell out of the way. It can’t be the same experience each time you write, is it?
  • Now that you mention it, no.

Why I write

Let me make one thing clear on the front end of this piece: why someone writes is their business. No artist of any kind is under any obligation to explain why he or she creates. Responding with, I’m sorry, but that’s none of your business, is a just response. It is no one’s business.

As far as I’m concerned, whatever it takes a writer to put words on a page is fine with me. First off, the page can be a hard place to get to and, once there, the necessary experience of being fully present in the moment can be heavy lifting at times. Its the words, the writing that I care most about.  An actor who hopes to win an Oscar is no more betraying the craft of acting than a writer who hopes to win a Pulitzer is betraying the craft of writing. Wanting or hoping for an accolade is not a betrayal of creative purity. To think it is is misguided in the best light, and rubbish in any other light.

I have no problem explaining, to some extent, why I write. For some years now my short answer has been pretty much the same: Sometimes I write because I want to, always I write because I have to. I suppose I could polish that sentence into finer stuff, but I’m leaving it as it is because it was born that way.

It is the sanctuary of language itself that brings me to the page, writing or reading. As far back as I can remember, books and writing have provided sanctuaries I could depend on. Even when I was homeless they were they. I am not by nature a thief, but, when I was on the street, I had no problem at all pinching paperback books off those always-squeaky! book racks in drugstores.

Language is a living thing for me. Words are living beings; they have  shape, movement, sound; they each have their own pulse; they can be moody. I short, words have personality, every damn one of them.

And then, of course, there is this: language is great company. I am never alone when I write or read. Like I said: Sometimes I write because I want to, always I write because I have to.

 

No more pipe dreams: a sketch in words

There was almost a gentleness to knowing the balance of his life had come down to nothing but the words he wrote on a page. Nothing, more or less, save, of course, for the blessedly endless supply of books to read. Such was his love of reading that he knew, in the end, if he was aware of its arrival, a deep ache-sadness at not having read all he’d wanted to read would be present.

Not sad, so much, this truth. So many around him seemingly spinning in place or out of control (held up to the light at the right angle this could indeed be redundant) in their misery. The chase for the material, gullible minds digesting to the point of blind and foolish faith that wealth meant joy and happiness. In short, pipe dreams.

Leaning back in his chair with a cup of tea, a brief and admittedly cursory self-examination led him to conclude he was free of pipe dreams.

No more pipe dreams. Reality for me, he thought.