Monday, May 27, 2013


One of the reasons for writing is to entertain a reader. Another is to muddle about internally and come up with some kind of conflict that needs resolution and then seek out that resolution. I like the one that implies that I don't have a choice; I  write because there's something in me that tells me I need to. Except for those who crank out words in order to pay the mortgage or perhaps keep body and soul together, I think most writers write because they have a compulsion. If someone else reads it and gains something through the reading, that's all gravy. I confess that that's why I write. It releases something in me and gives my mind leave to wander down its own garden paths and see what's growing there. Whether it is weeds, orchids or just a fallow field is up for grabs at any particular moment.

Sometimes the writing flows so easily. In a short space of time a whole page is full and when I read it back (or better yet, have my British-accented Dragon program read it back to me) all I can think of is "Gad, where did that come from?"  I found some old stuff not long ago and when I read some of it, that was precisely the reaction I had. I wonder, did I even write it?  But there was no attribution and if there's one thing I believe in most firmly it's attribution. Of course, a lot of it was pure blather, strings of words put together that made sentences but without the spark that gave me the "Wow" I had hoped to find. Still, I guess that's the nature of the beast. Even the Cubs win now and again, but there's usually a lot more losses on their scorecard at the end of the season. Ya gotta love'em anyway, unless you're a fan of the White Sox or other sworn adversary.

Most of the time I just write and see what comes out.  Most of my writing lately has been essays reflecting on scripture or the lives of saints and the like. Now and again I try a commentary on a current event or maybe a book or thoughts that come from contemplating a quotation. I really have no desire to write a best-selling novel although a best-selling creative nonfiction book would be lovely. I like painting word pictures but they are mostly for my own amusement, quite often they are my way of remembering places I loved growing up like my river or the tree on  Monument Hill or Cedarbush Creek. I get homesick but as long as I can describe the images in my brain, I can remember and even sometimes feel the air or get a whiff of the scent of salt water and marsh mud. It's almost like going home again, but it fades far too quickly.

Once upon a time, a friend of mine wrote a more-or-less regular column for his local newspaper. He got to pick the topic and, being the man of words that he is, he'd come up with some doozies. While reading his stuff, all my long-suppressed wishes to produce a best-seller went out the window in favor of dreaming of being a columnist, somebody who writes stuff that, on a good day, might stir somebody up to comment in a letter to the editor or, on a better one, write that I had been brilliant in my analysis.

Now and again I get writer's block, that nasty literary disease that I hear all writers get from time to time. I've read of several "cures" and one or two of them have worked at times but not always. Sometimes the sin of procrastination storms in the door and I just can't find the impetus to put a single syllable onto paper (ok, screen).  Unlike the recommendations from various sources, I can't seem to find a set time each day to spend writing stuff, good, bad or indifferent. But then, now and again, something catches fire and I can't wait to get it down. Those are the times I live for, whether anybody else reads it or not.

I've started writing my own Bucket list and on it one item is to publish a book, another is to have a name that people I admire (but who don't know me from Adam's kitty cat) recognize. I'd also like to spend six months just tootling around Britain and win the lottery, all of which are about as possible as the first two items, but would only happen if I won the lottery, a very difficult thing to do when you don't buy the tickets. Still, the dreams give me something to go on, that plus the itch to be able to talk as long as I want about whatever I want to talk about.

Call it my therapy. At least this kind is easily affordable.

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