On writing

If you want to write, you need to believe your words are valuable enough to put on paper. They are. I’m dead serious. Your words have a right to be written because they are your words. You are real. Your voice, spoken or written, has as much value as any other voice – on the planet.

And try not to fret or wrap yourself in guilt because you didn’t remember to write something down. My history is littered with now forgotten sentences, phrases and words I fell in love with and wanted to use one day, and never did. I don’t imagine mine is a unique experience, other than it is mine, and no one (that I know of) is living my life but me.

I know that none of what I said here will make writing perpetually comfortable.  I don’t think it is supposed to be. Writing forces you to be fully alone with yourself, and fully connected with yourself. Not easy. Sometimes I write because I want to, always I write because I have to.

The page is your world

This may be the most efficient way of writing. Simply put words on a page, and have done with it. This is your page. These are your words. Here, of all places, you need answer to not a soul, living or dead. This is a statement of fact, friend. This, the page, is your world. Doesn’t matter whether others read this or not. I know ache fills you at this. It’s only life, each sentence, word, one movement closer to the end.  

The Dream Worth Living

Carl Sandburg called it “The best book ever written about how to write” and I agree. The book, entitled “If You Want to Write” with the subtitle of “A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit” is written by Brenda Ueland. It was first published in 1938.

Ms. Ueland’s beautifully written work, when all is said and done, is about the inherent right and, if I may be so bold, responsibility we each have to give ourselves permission to be who we are, and discover that the joy of life comes from the very experience of being you and not from material wealth, or the sincere and insincere accolades of others.

The reward is the experience of life itself. The kind of car you drive is, in my opinion anyway, not life. But what you see around you or the music you are listening to or the conversation you are having with a loved one while you drive, these are the rewards of life.

When I talk with Michael, without question, my closest friend, so much so I experience him as my brother, the joy is in the content of our conversations, not the kind of phone we may be on. Nearly always before we hang up we say love you to each other. What a shame it would be if either of us gave a rat’s ass about the kind of phone we are on – we’d miss the experience of the conversation.

I would recommend Ms. Ueland’s book to anyone who wants to be reminded that being who you are in life is the dream worth living – and it is. I promise.