Without carving space between and within our necessary activities to engage the world spontaneously, for its own sake, there’s no life-spark. Play is how we come spiritually alive.
A writer’s capacity to tolerate discomfort, along with violent busts of elation and anguish, determines how deeply and for how long he or she can reside in the generative state.
Every story has a hidden life—a soul, if you will. How writers tend this soul significantly affects our work and our well-being. This tending is really active listening. It’s both willful, sprung from the self, and responsive, heeding that life-force beyond the story and its readership.
But this is our progression when learning an art, and (I suspect) when living life: First we’re unconscious, then we’re self-conscious, and then we’re aware of being self-conscious, which is truly agonizing. Only then can we come into consciousness and make conscious choices that shape our lives.
Contemplation is our central task as writers, and as human beings.
If genuine, open-hearted engagement is the basic ingredient of the creative process, then we all have the capacity to move a reader.
Never have I read a recovery memoir that was so ripping hilarious, emotionally astute, and theologically provocative. Marty was a fantastic writer. He worked on that tome (three volumes long!) for as long as I knew him—over a decade. It was one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever supported.
Love is literature’s essential ingredient. If we writers can center ourselves in our love—for the subject matter, for the writing process, for the language, for the readers—then we’ve got it made.
Perhaps we writers love to write because we love loving, and we intuit that writing exercises this capacity.
Forgiving ourselves and proceeding regardless is a fundamental part of living fully, and writing well.