Monday, April 19, 2010

An automatic response

A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions. Oliver Wendell Holmes
I love the act of writing. The placement of one letter after another to form a word followed by another.

I love the art of writing. The placement of a word in context to the next that creates a picture of a story worth telling.

I love writing. Reading it. Acquiring it. Fetching it from other places, other voices, other names. I love writing that is good. I even love writing that is bad if only because it reminds me of all that is good about good writing.

This week, over at High Calling Blogs there's a discussion going on based on Julia Cameron's, The Right to Write.

If anyone isn't familiar with Julia Cameron's writing, her book, The Artist's Way tops my list of 'must read', must act on, books -- not just for writing or being creative, but for living a creative life. The Artist's Way puts me in touch with my inner muse and opens me up to wonder.

On Writing

I can't remember a time when I didn't write. When the idea of vowels and consonants streaming across a page didn't excite me. I loved words as a child. Clamored to make sense of the letters marching across the pages of my sister's school books long before I ever joined her in the ranks of those getting 'edumacated.'

I wasn't concerned about the value of the letters. Fat ones. Skinny ones. Juicy plump vowels or ripe luscious consonants. They made up words and I wanted to know the words they made up. Words, I believed, were the gateway to understanding what made up the world around me, the people, the places, the things, the events. I wanted to know. to understand. And I needed the words. And then, once I learned the words, it wasn't the words that got me, it was the images. The imagery they evoked. The feelings they awoke. The possibilities they made possible.

One word could make such a difference. If I read about the cat who sat on the mat, it didn't make much difference to me what happened next. But to read, "The cat sat on the dog's mat," ahhh, now there was tension. There was intrigue, mystery, curiosity, possibility. What happened next awoke and I was hooked.

As a child, writing the rules and stories for our 'club' always fell on me. My imagination worked over time, triple time (so 'they' told me and I didn't question their judgements. I just assumed everyone's imagination worked like mine. 'They' told me I was wrong. How sad I thought. What is life without a vivid imagination?). And so I lost myself in it. My imagination. Writing let me let it loose, get it out, set it free. I could always dream up a good story. Just ask my parents. They'll tell you. I was always making up stories.

The story of my writing began way back when. As a little girl I once told my mother something bad her brother did to me. She got angry with me. Denied it could have happened. Insisted I was making up stories. And so, the story was born. "Louise is always making up stories." I lived up to my moniker. Took to creating stories where ever I went. Whatever I did. It was the bad thing that became the gift of my lifetime.

As a child, I was always afraid of putting my stories to the test of other people's eyes. To protect my stories, I carved them out of darkness in the secret rooms of my imagination. I carried them up out of the dark of night where I would sit on my bed, a flashlight beaming beneath my covers, shrouded in a tent of mystery, an Arabian tent of a 1,000 tales I could tell, or a 1,000 stories I could read that would take me to far off lands and wide open spaces. My stories were not for prying eyes. My stories were not for anyone else to criticize at birth. They needed time to grow, to be nurtured, to be loved into that storied place where they could live on their own.

I've grown a long way from that little girl who feared sharing her stories would expose her to ridicule, to condemnation, to being ostracised. I've come a long way from that special place beneath my covers, scribbling in the dark, reading words of other authors coming to life in my imagination.

And no matter how far I've come, my love of words, of writing, or creating stories and images from letters and words, sentences and paragraphs has never waned. It only grows stronger the more I write.

The history of my writing goes way back. Way, way back. I can't remember a time when I didn't write. Wouldn't want to. Writing, like breathing, is an automatic response to living this one wild and precious life in the rapture of now.

Funny how those memories of long ago can be awoken with one idea shared here, in cyberland. Hop on over to Glynn's place or L.L. Barkat's or High Calling Blogs and get ready to be inspired. It's all about our right... to write... from the inside out... getting it out, getting out the stories, the images, the ideas, the notion that we are creative souls writing it out from the soul of our hearts and minds.


Anonymous said...


good piece

try this excercise

1 blank page

make yourself 5 again, in your mind, for a minute

now write, as the 5 yr old

that cat might sit on the dog's mat, but I'll bet there is a lot more in the 5 yr old's head

have a great week,


L.L. Barkat said...

I never much enjoyed writing. It was just something I could do. Now that I do it in community, I feel as you do... my attraction towards it has grown stronger.

Glynn said...

Writing is a journey, Louise, and you've shared some of yours here. I read this, and I come away encouraged.

Maureen said...

Mark must be reading "Right to Write" with us. His exercise is a lot like the intention exercises in Cameron's book.

I think it's fascinating to learn how we use our gift of language. Using the gift to tell stories helps us see who we are, how we are, why we are.

Laura said...

It sounds like you have found the freedom to let yourself write, as Cameron describes. I love how she points out how our culture has inhibited us as writers. One of my favorite books to read to my kids is More Than Anything Else by Maria Bradby. It's the story of Booker T. Washington's hunger to learn how to read. We take so much for granted.

I enjoyed reading about your love of writing!

Anonymous said...

this is great. I love your writing!

S. Etole said...

I am glad that the gift of writing in you wasn't stifled along the way and that you share this gift with us.

Unknown said...

"that little girl who feared sharing her stories would expose her to ridicule, to condemnation, to being ostracised." I've been that girl, not sharing thoughts or ideas out of fear. I'm inspired that you fought through the fear and put yourself out there. I'm beginning to do that more. Thanks for the encouragement.

Kathleen Overby said...

If you weren't a kindred spirit before, you are now.
That feeling of wanting words. The wonder of learning to opened up the world to me also. Keep it coming, we enjoy it.

Cassandra Frear said...

Our childhood memories and the way we have played profoundly affects how we write -- for the rest of our life. I firmly believe it.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

I love this. I'm with you. I feel sorry for people who don't have beautiful imaginary worlds to escape to from time to time. We are certainly the richer for them.