Why does this memory return today? This question is endlessly fruitful for those of us who seek the meaning buried in experience. I ask it whenever a memory won’t let me go. My father died in July, and this simple meal on a park bench conjures completely all he meant to me: Our mutual effort to begin again.
What’s different now is that, after banging my head against the wall for a bit, I occasionally see the blessings of being thwarted. Whatever tiny openings I find release in me a fierce and focused effort and creative solutions that otherwise might not have been possible.
Writers often say that if they knew how much work a book would take, they’d never have started to write. Denial sets us on a path of creativity and growth and change, and this path can then gradually open our eyes to reality in a way we can bear.
“Every writer has three responsibilities: first to the story, second to yourself, and finally to your audience.”
How writing binds self to creation remains a mystery. I write to find out.
Back before the Internet, when my two sources of interruption were the mailman and the telephone, my computer functioned like a typewriter or notebook, singular in its purpose. I like to imagine that I could focus, settling down into a project, losing myself in creation and emerging hours later, but the truth is I grasped …
The fact that the artistic process includes emptiness says something important, I think, about creation itself. Emptiness is part of becoming.
That spark of inspiration in my writing that then is reflected in my reader’s eyes? I didn’t generate it; I just created a form to hold it.
A spark of life or inspiration sounds through us into our creations and sounds through our creations into other living, breathing creations who are also sparks of life and sources of inspiration.
One of the hardest things about creative writing, as far as I’m concerned, is the pervasive sense of getting nowhere. Sure, I might have a productive morning and crank out a few thousand words, but tomorrow I’ll cut half of them, and even if I don’t I’ll likely wait years before those words see the …