Saturday, July 21, 2012
Sometimes It's Just Hard to Write
Alright, and don't worry because I've been experiencing that very dark of night, when it's just hard to write, and I want to write, and I know I need to write, but, for some reason, the attic is filled with dustmotes, the so-called "girls in the basement" have gone on a cruise somewhere leaving me berefit and on my own, and nothing I see or overhear or sense has any bearing on my writing life at all.
Dry. Dry. Dry.
Well, here is a bit of information from that little book I told you about earlier, but maybe I should explain the James Taylor photo first so you don't think I've completely flipped my lid.
James Taylor came to Springfield on July 17th, the day after my birthday by the way, and I eagerly went to hear him play. I've been a fan of his for something like 40 years, I don't know, whenever he came on the scene. Well, he played his new hit, on his new album, "That's Why I'm Here," and I thought, he knows so well why he's here and I know why I'm here too but, I'm having a hard time with the from A to Z process. I know why I'm here too, but I'm thirsty, dry, need a drink of water from the well, and I feel so guilty for all of that because I'm not producing as I should be. Nevertheless, Sweet Baby James delivered a wonderful, memorable performance, and it inspired me a bit, something I was in need of. Why I'm here, indeed...
Okay, so. back to "The Pocket Muse." Monica Wood. These are her words, not mine. "Writing requires discipline, but disciplined writers are not necessarily prolific. Most good work gets produced over time, sometimes many years, allowing the writer to grow with the material, to allow his world, his command over craft, and his psychological maturity to coalesce at just the right moment to produce something of value. This process often involves dreadful periods of not writing, or, worse, periods of writing very badly, embarrassingly badly. As time passes in a writing life, the writer learns not to fear these arid periods. The words come back eventually. That's the real discipline: to train the mind and heart into believing that words come back. I can think of a handful of writers who are both prolific and good: Joyce Carol Oates, Madison Smartt Bell, Anne Tyler. There is a certain genius at work in these cases, though; the rest of us normal writers have to suffer the droughts and hope for rain."
And then, Ms. Wood closes with: "Be willing to wait. In the meantime, write when you don't feel like it. If you can't write, read."
Again, her words, not mine, but they're golden. So for you out there, looking for a glimpse of rain, and for me too, grasp it, drink it in, and realize it.