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.

And inspiration.

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).
  • Sunrises
  • sunsets
  • darkness
  • 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
  • photographs

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,

– Daddy


Sat: Rode 25

Sun: Ran 8

Mon: Rode 20

Tues: rest

Wed: rest

Thurs: Swam 1600 / Rode 20