Wednesday, October 23, 2013

That Smell? Oh, That's Just the Hyperbole

Here's a little something from the February, 1999 issue of The Leaky Pen.

I hesitated posting this because of all the hyperbole. It's what happens when you don't have another set of eyes looking over your work (even editors need editors). But I saw a few grains among all the chaff, so here it is.


All I want to do is write. I'm sure that's because I have a full-time job doing something else.

I want to write so bad tears are just below the surface. Passion is riding the winds inside me. There's a tsunami inside and it won't—come—out. My pen seems too little to let such a storm flow through it. What wants to come out? What is my purpose? I feel it is only to find those right words.

No, that's not right. It's not finding the right words. What if I found them tonight? Like the Lost Chord? Would that mean that I would never need to write again?

The purpose of my life as a writer is to embark on the journey, new, every day. There are only right words for this day. This moment. And these are the ones for today. The words of quiet. The quiet place where the pages hold still as I try to channel the storm and give it form.

The Foundation of Writing

Do you practice your craft of writing every day? For those of you who play a musical instrument, you put in practice for one performance. And if you don't practice, your performance stinks, right? Why would your writing be any different?

Writing practice is the foundation of all writing. It is the air I breathe, the water I drink. The process of keeping my hand moving for a specific amount of time (10 minutes, for instance) unlocks those places inside that contain the important things I need to say as a writer.

After 12 years of writing practice, I'm only recently discovering the things I have to say, my deep reasons. The experiences in my life that have been composting for all these years are now yielding rich fruit as I daily put pen to paper, turning and turning, keeping my hand moving.

In Wild Mind, by Natalie Goldberg, she points out the obvious, and at the same time, not so obvious. "Reading a book about writing is different from actually getting down and doing writing."

The Leaky Pen,  From the Editor, February 1999