Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Writing Epiphany

I woke up yesterday morning with a short story in my head. The press of words was so great that I got out of bed WAY too early, went immediately to my computer and started writing. The next thing I knew it was dark, I hadn’t eaten all day, and I was still wearing boxers, an old flannel shirt (of a print and color that don’t even begin to coordinate with the boxers) and the ancient Ugg boots I use as slippers when it’s cold. The outfit was suitable only for a recluse whose husband is used to her peculiarities, but the story came out beautifully.

Writing is more basic somehow, more direct and less fragmented, than being a lawyer or an executive. Happily, it's equally satisfying and more mesmerizing. It’s cathartic, even – and gratifying in a somehow more personal way. Kind of the way physical activity differs from intellectual activity. At first, I thought this was because as a writer I don’t have to deal with other people’s agendas. But then I realized that’s not true. My characters are very pushy, and I have to deal with their agendas. That’s what writing is: getting out of my head and expressed just right who these characters are and what they do. I think the real difference between writing and my original career might be that I don’t have to deal with my own agenda. My conscious will is never anywhere in the vicinity when I work to find the right words to express the feelings and images and people crowding my mind. For me, writing is like taking dictation from fascinating dictators. That’s why I lose track of time and appetite (and apparel).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's so much in this that makes sens to me. In some ways it's like golf (which I'm very average at) - you know the answers, you just have to trust them !