expression

“Writers are an envious bunch.” -Louis, Stuck in Love

I’ve spent countless hours sitting in the doorway to my garden; feet propped up, staring at the unremarkable side of my kitchen cupboards. There’s a black smudge running the span of it, and I can’t seem to remove it no matter what cleaning product I use.

I stare at that smudge, and the dead autumn leaves that lay just outside the doorway. I stare at the inchworm inching his way by, in search of some place to be. I think about my life and the lives of others out in the world – the damage and the joys that swirl around through billions of moments. Words come to me and then float away again as I sit frozen, knowing that if I would just write them down and be done with it, I would feel a little better. I would feel a sense of release.

The book and movies I take in lately always seem to entail a story about a writer. It’s like the universe keeps pulling me back into just writing down the words of my own life, even if no one gives a shit. One film’s character claimed writing to be a sort of therapy. It’s true. Writing is a way of combing through the nonsensical strings of words that are haphazardly and often cruelly tossed around by the raging emotion in our minds. They float around in a sea of nonsense, and it’s only when we speak them coherently, or write them down, that we feel truly heard or understood. Feeling heard is maybe one of the most important things I can think of; to be redeemed by relaying our experience to another human being. To feel that someone, somewhere, is going to making meaning of what we’re communicating.

An old love of mine once read some stuff I’d written. I asked what he thought as he retrieved two beers from his fridge:

“I honestly thought you had more ingenuity than that.”

It didn’t crush me in that moment, but it served to further relinquish me from my own desire to express. I’m sensitive enough to hold his esteem between me and my creative pursuit of doing something as simple as arranging words on a page.

I surely have a lot to say, although these days I just don’t have the heart to actually relay it to any wider world. I envy those people that have the guts. I also love them for writing and allowing me to read about what’s going on in their lives.

To all those artists out there; to all those aspiring and realized writers – say what you have to say, no matter how boring or mundane, and let the opinions of others be damned. One way or another, you’re going to have to get it out. And one way or another, someone somewhere is bound to run with it.

6 comments

  1. Oh Jami, I feel your loss, I too have stopped writing on the basis of a single misplaced comment…but I come back to it later…so far, anyway. I recently experimented (my last post) with writing something very different for me and have received some lovely feedback, but I have also asked two very accomplished fiction writers to give me their brutal opinion about it…maybe I’ll survive?

    • Oh dear, you too? I find it almost comical how much we hold the opinions of others above our own heads. It makes my arms really tired. 😛 I guess that’s a part of being the social creatures we are, and I guess when it comes down to it, it’s the whole ignorance is bliss game we play with ourselves. We just don’t want to know that we’re maybe not as brilliant as we’d like to convince ourselves. Oh well…fuck it. Writing is fun at the end of the day. I am sure you’ll survive btw! I think asking for feedback is brave. Good on ya.

  2. I also stopped writing. I had around 20 pages and then stopped because I either didn’t have time, felt lazy, or just felt really stupid about it. I recently read this great book by Brene Brown about shame. She says that a lot of aspiring writers don’t finish anything because they are embarrassed that someone will laugh and that’s why they also feel unhappy. Her researched proofed that people, who are not embarrassed to show their work to the world are much happier.
    I think that’s my problem, too. I am just ashamed to say that I want to create, or that I’ve created something. So, I’ve recently started to fight it, and I am going back to finish that story I started writing a while ago.

  3. Hmmm that book sounds interesting, although I think you’ve summed it up quite nicely. I like reading your blog because it’s like an ongoing story. It’s interesting. See, there’s writing about how you feel about this or that, what you think about whatever, and then there’s story telling. Have you thought about putting your stories on your blog, like as a series? I would be curious to read them!

  4. You are a good writer, Jami. If you have a desire to put your life into words, don’t let anything deter you from it. If you feel you have a story to tell, tell it. Everyone’s life is interesting, some more colorful than others to be sure. But a good writer can take even the ordinary and make it entertaining, or at least enjoyable reading.

    I wager your life is more colorful than many, and I encourage you to continue writing about it. When I had completed my memoir, a trusted and gifted college professor read the manuscript before it was published. The first thing he said was, “You have something very special here.” He then proceeded to lavish praise on my work. His words made the countless hours of writing and rewriting worth it. And then he said something that would have made the effort worth it even if he hadn’t loved my work. He said, “You’ve accomplished something very few people accomplish. You finished a book. And no matter what happens with it, you should feel very good about your accomplishment. A LOT of people SAY they are going to write a book someday. Very few of them follow through with it.”

    Keep writing! My mantra, when I would have days of “writer’s block,” became “Words on paper.” Just start typing, the words will come, and I knew I could edit them later – a process I came to enjoy more than the original writing at times.

    Take care and good luck!

    Gary

    • Gary, thank you so very much for your encouragement…just as you wrote this, I was blissfully pounding out a poem about my love of the sea!!

      Earlier today on my train ride to work, I was asking myself why I write at all. Then I realized (once again) that writing for me is simply cathartic. I just love the act of arranging words to express my life, and it doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.

      You really made my day with this kind and thoughtful comment. Thank you from my heart. 🙂

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