Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The best thing about writing?

Inspired by my friend Rachael, I decided to give the #NaBloPoMo a bash. What is my favorite thing about writing? I love and I hate to write. Maybe my favorite thing is stopping. And then the distance and time, or in the form of time, make what I've written more palatable and even afford me some discovery. What was I thinking? What was I doing? Because lately I've taken scarcely any time for reflection. Twenty years or so ago I kept a journal for a brief time. Some time later, reviewing what I'd written, I was surprised to discover what I'd said, which I don't remember and the book is long gone or packed away.

Thoughts come and go. I can scarcely remember what I was thinking about this morning, although, recalling a dream where I'd put my name to a book that I had not, in actuality, written. A prompt such as this is a gift. I have learned recently or had to learn again that once I have stopped writing, it is hard to begin again. Jacques Barzun in the Modern Researcher remarked that it required the strength of Samson. He also said that unlike the alcoholic who cannot touch a drink again the writer cannot stop for a day.

I have been asked why do I want to write, and I don't have a very good reason. Certainly there is a desire, but I lack compulsion, practice, structure, technique, knowledge of rhetoric, I don't know what I'm doing and I find it hard to answer a simple question. Yet I know that when I don't write, something is missing from my life, there's a longing. It was simple at the age of 6, writing and drawing, about a neighborhood like mine, about events in my life, like the woman I thought was a witch, though maybe that's what an older boy told me. "She's not a witch," my grandfather said, "she just doesn't like people trespassing on her property." I don't remember if it was after or before then I made "No trespassing" signs of my own.

And maybe none of it matters. And maybe it matters to me. I don't know. I do know that by writing it, it is something, whether it is what I thought I was thinking or not.

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