Some people drink or abuse drugs because they have demons inside them that they want to kill; I write because I have demons inside me that I want to understand.
“Part of becoming a writer is the desire to have everything mean something.” —Louise Erdrich
Spouting off what’s at the forefront of our thoughts is easy, maybe too easy. Before speaking, grab a pen and paper, open the word processor, or whatever is your chosen writing instrument, and scribble out that same utterance. Is it still as deep, desirable, vivid, and valuable as it was before your vocal cords got to it?
I can speak for myself and say, ‘Certainly not!’ The difference between my speaking and writing resembles a heavyweight versus a lightweight in a cage fight. The moments it takes to compose, as opposed to converse, forces me to revert back to my most sincere thought on a matter.. My working definition of writing: a back-and-forth contest between what I want to say and how I prefer to be heard.
My truth serum is black and white. By slowing down the world around me, I’m constantly uncovering truths.
Count to ten, go for a walk, take deep breaths: None of these strategies are an antidote to my reactionary self.
“All of us are watchers-of television, of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway—but few are observers. Everyone is looking, not many are seeing.” —Peter M. Leschak
Quirky as it may be, I’ll notice: mismatched socks, the contents of your lunch, that I wonder your wonderings, or if you truly are picking up what I’m laying down. Down two rounds out of a possible three, my mind swings for the fences to knockout or takedown my opponent: an idea attempting to stray without a thorough amount of thought.
Others are who they are: Troubling terms to accept because I’ve always been under the impression that I’m an agent of change.
“There isn’t any secret. You sit down and you start and that’s it.” —Elmore Leonard
I’m the CEO of a Singular 500; I’m an assembly line powered by personal drive. Whether the task put in front of me is minuscule or daunting, the chore is mine and stamped property of. Make haste? There’s no time to waste! Working, writing, exercising, painting, partaking in hobbies, or anything I value in my life receives a heightened degree of attention. Every task I complete is the powerhouse of my pride. As a writer, I never leave anything in the hands of the judges; writer’s block never forces me to wave off the contest, nor does my pen ever submit to the paper. I love work. Writing is work; hence, I love writing.
I grew, and continue to grow, more flexible and refrained from casting each day into a specific mold.
“Sometimes I think human beings learn to harden like concrete.” —Donald Murray
When I began practicing a more malleable attitude, the art of prose connected with my inner fighter; grappling with words, feinting ideas that weren’t precise, delivering crushing knees and elbows to the times when doubt crept into my mind. My choices as a writer transform concrete into a watery slush and allows for an even spread across the canvas.
Life, relationships, and the passing of time unlock uncertainty.
“Teach yourself to work in uncertainty.” —Bernard Malamud
Writing reminds me of the cautions on the road ahead, and I now welcome more uncertainty as a writer than I previously would have expected.