on writing

up for air

Every once in a while, I sense the need to surface from my ruminations and hundred-book-deep studies to say, “Hello. I’m still here. And I am writing.” Just not sharing very much right now.

My selfishness stems from something I’ve been thinking about for a while: solitude in art. Rilke writes of an artist’s life–that it should be allowed to overgrow itself and entirely dwindle…save that which sustains his art. Perhaps the idea of my existence being a mere appendage to my products is revolting on a human level (from whence stem our visions and inspirations? how to truly live, survive, without other people?).

But my solitude is come by strangely, as if my own temperament forces it upon me when I’ve had a long day or an afternoon full of too much light and color. After such stimulating occasions, I retire to a corner and find a book or write on a book. The outpouring of thoughts and words and the simultaneous settling into myself… That’s where I create.

To share these things immediately brings me too soon back into the presence of other people. The blogosphere is full of beautiful souls, but I hide away from them, not because they are not beautiful but because my eyes cannot look at that beauty. They say extraversion and introversion differs at the point of stimuli — how much can you take before you start to recede into the wall, shut down in your mind, wish you were back home with your cat. I think of it much the same way as those who look upon great things. My spirit is readily moved, and yes, even overpowered by visual experiences, moments touching upon things far far greater than I. The drama of war. The epic of life and death. The soul of another person.

Besides, my writing is often so private, who wants to read that in get-it-out-of-my-head form, the dash and blur of the pen to the page, the nonsensical incomprehensible throw-up of emotion? Maybe in crafted pieces, we receive these shared experiences more readily. Like if you’ve not read Cheryl Strayed’s essay “The Love of My Life” yet, you should. Like right now (go HERE). Her experiences are raw and resonating for that rawness. But perhaps mad post-experience jotting wouldn’t have captured that as perfectly.

Very soon, I shall try to share a pre-revision essay from my Creative Nonfiction class (that’s where I first read Strayed). The only reason that may not happen is because too many people are on social media with access to this blog, and nonfiction usually touches upon the life of the writer. 🙂 It’d be easier if I wrote “faction” like McPhee. But I’ll be experimenting with that too! (Ever heard of Barbara Johns? Or R.R. Moton High School? Talk about an underwritten-about heroine.)

Well, that’s all I got. Writing in the quiet. And also, watching lots of Nightmare Before Christmas. Happy Halloween, everyone.


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