Friday, January 15, 2010

I think I can or why I write, god knows

I am on page 256 of the rewrite. The book as it stands is 397 pages long. That's not manuscript, so shorter. I think I can, I think I can. Why do I write? That's a question I often pose. I do it because it's what I've always done. I do it because I can't stop myself. I do it because on good days, it makes me forget everything except trying to form that perfect sentence, pushing and pulling and hoping that I can. I've been writing since I was five, first it was Pegasus, ah you say the flying horse, and then it was poetry, and after that novel after novel, short stories, articles, novels that were published, novels that languished. Life has a way of intervening and pointing out that certain things aren't as important as you thought. But this has retained its sense of urgency. I get up every day and go to the computer, once it was a typewriter . . . and write. Without it, I wouldn't know what to do with myself.

I had a friend who called it a hobby, god knows it's an expensive one. Expensive in terms of time and energy and emotional abuse. As for payment, hey, don't think you're going to get rich doing this. But why complain, no one said it would be easy. Really, nothing is. And if you get to do something every day that gives you pleasure you are lucky.

Amelia was lucky too, not at the end but in between. That's more than most of us ever get. I think you do make your own luck in part. You have to be ready when the opportunity comes. She was. You have to believe you can do this, whatever this is. I find it remarkable Amelia had such faith in herself. And inspiring. I only hope I can do her justice. I think she's someone who has often been underestimated, funny to say that really. She was wonderful and impossible, just like anyone else. I wonder why that's so hard to translate. . .even after all these years.


  1. For whatever reason you write, please don't start writing about writing becuase then I'll start writing about why you're writing about writing and then you could include my writing about your writing about your writing in your writing and -- well, you get the point.

  2. Fair enough. But sometimes I do write about this book and trying to complete it. Next up, what Amelia would say to Muriel if she had the chance and whether she'd make amends.

  3. I love it that you write about why you write, and I love it that you write because you can't stop yourself. The creative pull is a strange and wonderful thing. For some reason we want to express ourselves and it feels good to express ourselves and it's about as easy and natural as salmon swimming upstream.

  4. Thanks Colleen . . .one of those days when I was just lost in trying to figure out what next? And in so many ways really.