I’ve been giving my writing some thought recently. Where it is going; what I am going to do with it. There is no simple answer. I can write. I write well.
The world is full of wonderfully talented and insightful writers. However, that doesn’t mean they actually have anything to say. There is a huge gap of Vision and dogged determination between forging a snarky retort or witty observation and writing the Harry Potter series. My wall is full of writing ideas. Kernels, seeds and snippets of ideas scribbled, jotted and hung around me.
Ideas for short stories and novels. Fiction and non-fiction concepts. Topics of love and topics of hate.
All on my wall.
Is there anything unique or new? Is there anything worth saying? Is there anything there on my wall worth hearing? After all, writing is about being heard – hearing ourselves, being heard by others.
Otherwise writing is just therapy. Which is, I guess, cheaper than a psychologist and Prozac. So there is that…
Write what you know is meaningfully different than write about your passions.
I know loss, abandonment, isolation, depression, disappointments, shames, embarrassments, betrayal, abuse and pain. I know about both the giving and receiving of all those things. I find no passion in that. There is no glory and is unworthy of self-aggrandizing.
Does the world really need one more story of loss and redemption?
But passions? Oh, how I know passions. Short lived and long. Life is one continuous progression from passion to passion. “Wine, women and song,” They say. Heat and flame and all the passions leaving my body and spirit with deep blood-red scars that I carry with me with secret joy. All markers, that although I have not lived a perfect life, at least I have lived.
But no Helen of Troy or Guinevere of Camelot…at least no passions worth waging war or betraying a King. More spiritual and hedonistic passions found in moments of time: a chocolate cake, the non-judgmental companionship of a dog at play, the salty spray of an angry sea beneath a steel-gray sky or the scent of a woman. The sweet undeniably sensuous scent of a woman.
A slow walk beside a spring brook bubbling through a flowering hardwood forest. Does green have a scent too? What about sound? Can you taste it? Smell it? Feel it?
These are passions but the stories are short. Rich. Fleeting. Lodged forever in the minds eye. Are they worth writing? Telling? Romanticizing and mythologizing? How to tell the story? My passion is not in money or possessions but in experiences and ideas and ideals. If it never happened can it still be true? Give me a few minutes and the passions will bubble out of me, you will see.
I am of the wrong age. No Emerson or Thoreau or Whitman or Twain or Poe or Melville to call upon and listen too. No transcendental idealism. No Enlightenment. The Yankees hide now, harassed into submission by the loud and shrill brays of the returning Puritans and their evermore present sophistry.
Now there is only the squawks and flashing images of the talking box. There is not time for thought or reading or reflection or education or listening. There is only “parrots being prompted by other parrots”, modern sophists and snake-charmers. Thoughtfulness has become indecisiveness, methodical is simply procrastinating, education is now elitist and anything worth doing starts with an airstrike.
So who has time to read? Who bothers?
…but that doesn’t matter because Passion driven by Vision and a dogged determination forces me to write the story.
Where to start? Stories of the Union and unions, industry and labor and Ohio’s little cities of black diamonds? Do I write of the estrangements and entanglements? What of Puff and his not so fortunate brother? Art and artists? A spiritual home in Maine? Armed lobsters…and unarmed as well? If I am in Luck, what does that mean? What of the Enlightenment and enlightenments? Do they deserve some thoughtful contemplation time too?
And the Big Cheese of Nuns? Should she not find a home in the pixels of my magic box?
Do I write to the Yankee and ask him and her to come home?
So stop asking me when I am writing and what I am writing just be glad for me that I am writing. Less than I would like to be but much more than I was. When it is finished and it is time and the passions have found paper I will let you know.
You get to decide if it was worth reading.