Where writing comes from
Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,
A new friend asked me today about writing. It forced me to think about my process. The lack of such of a thing. I reflected upon it as he sat and waited for the secret. I found myself breathing into dramatic pauses as I tried to talk about writing.
Where the words come from.
And where, sometimes, I imagine they are hiding.
I don’t have a process for writing it turns out. I sit down when I have a moment or when I have to because I’m stricken with inspiration that grips me. I can’t stop thinking about the words and how they’ll sound. Panic – fear that I won’t be able to express it. Until I’m paralyzed by it and writing something is the only way out.
I’m completely undisciplined in it though.
So I told him what I know to be true about blogging:
- be consistent
- keep it short (or break it into parts)
- be authentic / write what you know
Then I tried to explain writing. Which is different, I think. I told him it comes from some constant far off internal noise. That sounded strange and even I wondered where that explanation came from. However true it might be. I told him that I write when something won’t let go of me. Just a few examples:
- watching you sleep
- watching you play
- listening to you laugh
- watching you eat
- song lyrics
- books (especially single sentences that cause me to reread them over and over before moving on).
- the smell of salt air
- the smell of the mountains
- the way hot breath escapes you on cold mornings and drifts into the trees
- the taste of lake/river water when I’m racing
- the sound of the wind on my bike
- how a run goes bad when I feel myself sitting back into it
- how a run is beautiful when I feel myself floating on country roads
- memories both good and bad
I was rambling. Writing is just paying attention. Listening. Needing, to capture what you see, and hear, and feel, so that you can hold onto it.
So I can hold onto it, I thought.
I showed him the picture above of you kids and a neighbor, riding/running across a bridge, down a trail, under a setting sun.
“This is writing”, I said. “I’ll need to put this into words, I think.”
So I can hold onto it.
I love you,
Sat: Rode 25
Sun: Ran 8
Mon: Rode 20
Thurs: Swam 1600 / Rode 20