For how many years now—twenty? thirty?—I’ve quoted Anne Lamott’s snarky bit of writing advice, gleaned from Bird By Bird: “You’ve got to write a shitty first draft.” I teach it to students and recite it to myself (even as I write this!) as a balm against revulsion at my mess of bad prose and half-baked …
“You’re really enjoying writing these days,” a friend recently said. She was mirroring back to me my enthusiasm for my current project, a middle grade novel sprinkled with fantasy that occupies my mornings and then travels with me into the rest of my day like an invisible jungle gym for the heart. I desperately want …
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The unpublished memoir definitely exerts a subtle but important influence on me.
This capacity to understand ourselves as in and of one another, shot through with divinity, and sourced in our beloved planet, is available to everyone. It’s deeply comforting. And it’s the only starting place for the healing we—and our planet—need.
Whatever we’re given by inspiration we must augment with effort and then release to move and heal and connect and transform the wider world.
The fundamental, foundational dialogue in any story is the relational exchange of creation.
You’ve got to deconstruct the old to make room for the new, whether it’s a hallway or a soul. Or, in the case of writers, a rough draft. Or, in the case of climate change, old energy dependencies. Or, in the case of a broken democracy, old complacencies.
Just as language can never fully represent me on the page, I, in all my thinking, breathing, creating glory, can never fully represent my ultimate Self. And so I let the little me go.