“A beach comber has no idea what to look for the first day he steps onto the sand.”
“No one believes a comet is limning the heavens before ink is splashed.”
“The ponies have been let free to run.”
“A muscle exercised must first depart from atrophy.”
“If you can avoid writing to do something else, then do that. If you can’t stop yourself from writing, then be a writer.”
All of these images sift through my mind as I think about what it means to “Become A Writer”. So many books on the craft, all faithfully read and underlined. Pages dog-eared, notes scribbled into my Moleskine journal. So many master authors read, re-read, considered. Thoughts about how many writers actually wear a cravat, or a beret, or talismanic jewelry, when they are at their folio. Producing work.
Never have I had the luxury of this bemused pursuit of a craft. I love my career’s history and the provision we enjoyed as a result. (Read about my first career here and here) Now, though, I am able to, gently and persistently, remind myself that I am a ‘creative’ and that my day spent in writing and reading is, indeed, ‘mission-worthy’. This free feeling is what I dreamed of and hoped for. I recently spent an entire day at a conference of writers – the opening speaker referred to us as “an amazing group of creatives”. My first anointing as such.
I’ve gotten to open an entire new set of maps to my world. A fresh update to the topographical charts of a new mountain range. Like when you say, ‘we should go there sometime’. About the Grand Canyon, or either of the coastal Disney’s (how do you choose between a LAND and a WORLD?), or even those glaciers that are inaccessible on a casual drive-by but are an indelible set of images and memories once you finally get there. From what I hear, we should get to those glaciers sooner rather than later. So, too, these new vistas I glimpse on the skirt of my horizon.
Each day now, starting this November (the 2nd, because the 1st was a day of substitute teaching, bill-paying, and conversation with a warrior friend of mine), I have sat at one of my keyboards (ok, there are only two, but one of them is mobile – which means I can go sit in a field and imagine the journey across the Great Plains) and taken the time to write for several hours each day. In part encouraged by the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing in a Month – or something like that), it has been a joy to get out this new muscle of mine. I don’t promise anything better than drivel, but it feels GOOD. It feels satisfying to clack away and have a new story to show for the day.
Have you ever had to prime a pump or start a gravity fed hose? Our backyard water feature (too small to call a pond, too large to be a bucket) has a pump that occasionally gets clogged with leaves. I have never had to suck on the outflow end to re-start the pump, but I have had to clonk the pump against the side or on a stone to get it to start moving water. Hemingway’s best work produced in a rummy haze? Perhaps that was the liquid needed to prime the pump.
This very writing of mine is much like that pump. It (I) have finally started moving water (ideas) and it looks like the mucky leaves, dead bugs, and seeds are starting to clear.
What runs now is fresh, clear water. Excuse me while I go sample it.