Sure I want the thrill of traveling, the relief of a break from Covid monotony, the fun of loved ones’ company, and the delicious feast, but at the core what I long for is the exchange of love that comes so easily when we’re together.
“Every writer has three responsibilities: first to the story, second to yourself, and finally to your audience.”
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 …
Dillard is more radical than I supposed—radical, that is, in the original sense of “forming the root.” She understands creativity to work at a metaphysical level, transforming the basic stuff of the universe.
What Emily and I want for Gwyn is all that practice teaches: How with every new piece we’re a beginner, how repetition builds skill, how persistence pays off, how talent amounts to nothing without hard work, how to foster a work ethic, how to make mistakes and keep going, how over time and effort what seems impossible becomes possible. How any discipline (music, science, language, faith) opens into ever greater possibilities the deeper we go. How real transformation only happens with practice. How practice becomes the whole point.
What I find remarkable about Wallace’s story is how he saw creative potential within a relationship comprised of rejections.
In our product-driven, results-oriented culture, we like to think creative work gains worth by its impact on an audience. Liz’s story illustrates that who we become for having done the creative work is an equally important “product” with significant “results.”
The unpublished memoir definitely exerts a subtle but important influence on me.