Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

I am a Writer

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Your own reasonsI had an experience lately that got me thinking about my writing and the reasons I write. Disclaimer: I don’t think of what I write as Art; I mean, come on. I’m just not that pretentious. It’s, more than anything, therapeutic, pleasurable, and a gathering of my thoughts. It is an action rather than a result; a trip inside my brain that might come out with a few souvenirs, but is very much about the journey. I feel better and more focused when I write things down. I remember details of my life and experiences more fully when I take the time to type them out. I sometimes feel a compulsion to sit and write things down, to outline and tell the story of the images in my mind. As I am writing them, I usually remember more detail than I thought I could. The small, poignant pieces somehow come into focus, and things that I thought meant very little take on a larger meaning for me. There is a satisfaction in both the swelling flow of words that come out when I sit down and write, and in the exquisite pleasure of finding the perfect word or phrase. I even enjoy going back and editing what I wrote, and those are the times when I read something and realize, “no, it’s not perfect, but this might make it better.” And aren’t we all just trying to find ways to make ourselves a little bit better? There is satisfaction in improvement.

I write for many reasons: To document pleasurable moments, or pretty vignettes, or to make sure that I never forget a story that made me cry with laughter. I sometimes write down stories that were handed down to me from my family; If I don’t write them down, they may be lost. There are stories I don’t want to lose, and some of them don’t even belong to me. I write because I need to, and I want to, and because it almost always makes me feel lighter after doing so. I write about people and places that made an indelible impression on me that I must not forget. I write about loved ones who are gone, because I am afraid that I will forget some precious detail of who they were. And they were human and amazing and funny and weird and insane.

There are many things that I put into writing that do not see the light of day, that are for my eyes and mind only. Sometimes I write and write, and I am proud of something, or I feel that it is scary, but important. I usually put those here on my blog. I also intersperse those with photos, which sometimes speak louder than words, or tell a story without need of words. I used to write even the small things, a joke my daughter made up, or the made up words my son created, thoughts and anecdotes on my blog and I wrote posts every day for many years. These are the things that I find cool, funny, absurd, ironic, or infuriating. Sometimes they are sweet, sometimes they are sour, sometimes they are salty or bitter. Many times now, I will just post these little things to Facebook. I kind of wish I hadn’t started doing that, because honestly, it is easier to post there, and more people see it that way, but it takes away from my content here. I guess blogs are dead. I don’t know. I still have one. I still put words and pictures on it.

The thing about the pieces I write is this: They are always for me. Yes, they might make someone laugh, or cry, or wonder if they are about you, or someone you know. You might wonder why I would put out to the world something so blunt or crass, or delicate or private or flat out embarrassing for others to read. I do it because it makes me feel good, and it is satisfying. Sometimes it is a release. Sometimes it is because I want people to laugh, or cry, or because I feel good about something, or proud of something, or sad about something, or because I thought it was funny or might ring a universal bell. I have a voice. I want to use it. I am a writer. I want people to read what I write. I am not ashamed of that.

So, when I hear that maybe people see some of the things I write as a cry for help, I like to assume that they care about my well-being, and I take a minute to reassure folks that I will be fine. I am not suicidal, and I am feeling positive about working towards making the changes in my life to be happier. People sure are good deep down – they check in on me when I am struggling, and sometimes they share their struggles and I don’t feel so alone.

Some people though, let’s be honest: Some people will kick you when you’re down, just for the goddamn fun of it.

And when I hear that maybe people think that I am just being dramatic and attention-seeking; Well, I’m a writer. I put words out and people can read them or not read them. Whether they like them or not is truly irrelevant. I am a writer, and I will keep on writing. I write for me, and you read for you. You, the reader, are the one who chooses if you want to continue reading what I write. It seems to work okay; It’s a pretty neat system that’s been around for a few thousand years.

In the end, though, it doesn’t matter who reads it. I will continue to write, because it is what I am compelled by my mind, heart, and soul to do: It brings me laughter, joy, release. It makes colors brighter and delicate memories sweeter. It brings loved ones to life again for a moment. It helps me navigate the perilous trails of thought in my mind, and sometimes it tells me which path to take. Writing comforts me, and it sometimes comforts others.  I know this, because sometimes they take the time to write to me, or they pull me aside and talk to me about my writing in real life, and I am not ashamed to say that it makes me happy if someone likes what I read, or finds it thought-provoking, or brave, or crazy, or very sad.

I can think of no better feeling than the feeling of reading something someone else wrote, and knowing just exactly what they mean. There is an awe and balance and satisfying synchronicity to recognizing your own feelings or thoughts or memories in someone else’s words; When someone tells me that they feel exactly the same things that I wrote, that gives me joy and satisfaction.  Writing has made me friends, and at times, it has been my only friend. Writing travels through time and stops the rotation of the earth for a brief moment. It freezes time and distills moments into portraits. Writing is a part of me, and it is a part of me that I sometimes share with the world. It always will be. And if you don’t like my writing, I’m okay with that, too. Because I don’t write for you; I write for me.

I think the author Elizabeth Gilbert puts it a little better. Her book Big Magic is next on my list of books to read. The day after I had this thought-provoking experience, the one that made me think hard and long about what my writing means to me, I came across this quote.  I literally laughed out loud at the joy of the universe presenting me with exactly what I needed to hear at that moment.

Just smile

With love to myself and anyone else who puts themselves out there,

Annie

And So I Shall Write

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

I haven’t even written anything this year. Not one post. I used to write every day. I’ve mentioned it before, but life has gotten in the way a lot lately. I am often tired. Part of it is due to going back to work. There is also a part of me that wrestles with things I never struggled with in the past. Mortality, politics, race, education, relationships. Many things preoccupy me, but cannot be put into writing. Not because I’m not capable of writing about them, but because it is painful and would cause pain to others.

But I feel a gaping hole where my writing used to be. Or maybe it is more of a malignant growth that I used to remove daily with my writing. And now it just grows larger and larger and I feel the weight of it more every day. I realized this so much yesterday when my son turned 11. I used to write about my kids on every birthday, but sometimes it would take me hours; I just don’t have time like that anymore, and when I do, it is at night, and I am so brain dead from work that it just doesn’t happen. So yesterday, I promised myself I would write something today. I wrote for an hour. I wrote for me, not for public consumption, but to cut out some of what had been growing unchecked.

After that, I wrote for the daydreams. I spend a lot of time in the car, listening to music, and sometimes I have things I want to write, but they are just warehoused in my head, daydreams or movies in my brain. Believe me, you can imagine a whole lot when you’re stuck in a 10×10 metal box for almost two hours a day. You have to create your own little world, or you will just lose your shit completely. So, I wrote a little of that world down. It is not the only world, but it is the one that has most recently been occupying my mind. A snippet of a photograph from a dream I had a month ago, to which I add a little bit of the story every day. Aren’t brains and books amazing? Sure, they educate and inform, but their true value is that jump to another world. It might be vastly, wildly different than our own world, or it might be so very similar, comforting, but with only the best or worst of what we have to offer. We pick and choose which worlds we travel to when we pick up a book off a shelf. For some of us, if we can’t find the world that is just right, just what we imagine it should be, we create our own.

The writing of those imaginings is much harder than just writing what I think about real things like life or politics, or what it is to be a mother/wife/daughter/sister/member of the human race. Those things are concrete. They dictate to me what I will write about them. But Fiction? Fiction requires me to dictate to the story what must be written. And that requires dumping out my mental purse for the world to see the little pieces of what I most value, of what I most desire, of what scares me most, and of what turns my mind on.

What I get off on, the real me, not the me that people see, or the one that I choose to show to others, but the one that lives in that car for two hours a day. And that, i think, is what is preventing me from writing more. I guess we all feel like we are freaks on the inside (and maybe on the outside too). It’s fear. Pure fear. Not so much of what others will think of me, but more of what I will think of myself if I see it laid out on paper. What if it is all there, and it isn’t even freaky? What if it is just uninteresting crap? A meaningless, cliched, sentimental, boring, shallow, poorly-executed pile of poo?

I’ve promised myself I’ll work on overcoming that fear. And the only way to do that is to put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard.

And so I shall write.

Nano Nano

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Well, I’m trying to do NaNoWriMo again this year. I did it last year, too. While training for a half-marathon. So, you would think that this year would be easier, since I am benched (AGAIN) due to the Halloween Ankle Twisting episode of 2009. (Just thinking ahead. Let’s be honest. It will probably be an annual event.) No, it is not easier this year. We are still trying to finish up renovations to the basement: we still have doors to paint and hang, shades to purchase and hang, some lighting issues to resolve, and I have to put away all my highly valuable packrat stuff. Yes, I need that funeral home fan from the 1940s, my t-ball hat from 1978 (Go Birmingham PeeWees!), and every letter written by every member of my family for the last 120 years. I need them! Deep down in my soul!

But I am going to do it again anyway, because last year? I wrote FIFTY THOUSAND WORDS. They came right out of my head and went into the computer and now i have them. I haven’t quite gone back and shaped and coaxed them into something useful yet, but it is the most writing I have produced in my life. It was AMAZING.

So, yeah, i am already behind. I only have a thousand words down, and I should be up to about 5000 by end of day, but you know what? I have a thousand more words down than I would if I had not attempted at all. And that’s saying something.

Anyone else doing it? Not too late to jump on the bandwagon. I’m looking at you, JB. If not, you are doing Script Frenzy with me in April. I mean, how hard can writing a script be? If Judd Apatow can do it, I can do it. Right?

Oh, god.

To Write, or Not to Write

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Much to say, and just not gutsy enough to say it, so i haven’t been posting. I have been writing, keeping it to myself. Not bottling it up, but not letting it see light, either. Part of me thinks I am a big pussy for not just writing things out in the name of honesty and forthrightness. The other part of me knows that it might cause irreparable damage.

Or maybe the damage is already done. Am I selfish for wanting to purge all of this heartache? Would it be healthy for me? Or would it just be me seeking vindication, revenge. Even if I was doing it for the right reasons, is it possible that those involved would see it that way? No. I don’t think it’s possible.

So, I guess I do have boundaries.

Huh. Didn’t see that coming. . . .

A Place To Call One’s Own

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

I love, love, love this website. What a cool idea! It also makes me jealous of all of these folks with designated work spaces.

I want the coffee table book. Fascinating.

I need me a Lady’s sitting room. A parlour. A library. An office. Whatever you call it. A place of my own, to shut the door and lock out the world.

Want.

Most Productive November Evah

Monday, December 1st, 2008

I ran my first half-marathon on Thanksgiving. I wrote a novel. Not bad* for November. . . .


*I still haven’t finished my Christmas shopping. Okay, i haven’t even started my Christmas shopping, unless you count snowglobes from the Dollar Tree. Also, my novel is complete crap and it is non-fiction crap, at that.

Dogwood Girl Runs, Writes, Congratulates, Coughs

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

I know i have been missing in action during most of November. I attribute this to a)NanoWriMO b)Half-marathon training and c) family sickness.

So, i have about 2000 words left on NaNo today. I finished the half on Thursday. This may not seem like much until you drive to Chamblee Marta station (the approximate starting line) and then drive down Ptree Industrial until it turns into Peachtree, and then follow that all the way to downtown Atlanta and then over to Turner Field. Yes, I ran from Chamblee to Turner Field and people, that is a long-ass way.

I am proud of myself for finishing what I started out to do. Sometimes I am not that great with follow-through.

So, writing Nano today and driving back from Auburn to Atlanta. It will be nice to be home.

p.s. Congratulations to all you Tech and Bama fuckers.

Help me out, Runner Folks

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

My latest Metroblogging Atlanta post is up as of today. Check it out and give me all your sage advice on running the Thanksgiving Half Marathon. Because I am a little nervous. I admit it.

Although the calories I can conceivably take in afterwards without guilt do give me a little courage. Three words: “Mama’s Mashed Potatoes.”

And as an update: Nano is going well, although I am going to be driving right down to the wire.

Nano Update

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Well, I fell off the wagon a few days this week, but find that when I sit down to write, I am pretty damn fast at cranking this stuff out. I am at 32475, i think. Plenty of time left to meet my goal, and I honestly think this is going to go over 50,000 words.

I am so glad that i started this. It has given me a confidence that I have not had before.

And now I am going to go out and have fun tonight with people from high school – Very strange! And not embarrassing at all that i blogged about wanting to have sex with one of them in the middle of homeroom! Or that his fiance is coming! Or that Natalie might wear some ridiculous ensemble involving a hooker heels, egged on by Carrie, with Camille laughing all the while. I am sure there is little chance of the Roswell Police being called on us.

I am sure i will feel wonderful in the morning, just in time to go to a cookout with more high school people! Go Creekers!

Facebook is weird.

Oh, and i have a date on Sunday. With Edward. He’s very mature.

I Never Win Anything!

Friday, November 14th, 2008

But this morning, right there in my inbox, was a notification that I won a copy of this pre-release book. I love the site Goodreads and they have this nifty FirstReads give-away. Basically, you sign up to win pre-release copies from publishers. If you win, they send you a copy of the book and they request that you post a review on Goodreads. How cool is that?

So, NaNoWriMo is going well. I am at over 22,000 words. Almost halfway there and right on schedule. It has almost worked out well that I have been sick for over three weeks. More reason to sit around and write. The impact on my running has not been that great. Think wheezing on hills and coughing up massive amounts of green phlegm, but I’m still running on Thanksgiving, even if I am not at a hundred percent. I missed over a week of workouts, so i doubt it will make that much of a difference in my physical ability to run the half, but it definitely has affected my mental game. Confidence level is not high. Link