With some regularity I’m overtaken by timely, pretty-darn-good (I almost wrote “brilliant”) inspirations bursting with agency—that I don’t want to heed. The first time this happened, I’d submitted my MFA essay to the editor of my memoir, hoping she’d publish it as an afterword. “The memoir should stand on its own,” she insisted. “Why don’t …
Writing as Sacred Journey
For years I’ve practiced strange medicine, resting my ear on the body of whatever story I happen to be writing. Is it alive? If so, what does it want to become? Even though we play a part in generating them, stories have heartbeats all their own. Once the draft is out, I listen beyond my …
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.