Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What is it about writing, anyway?

When I first started this blog, and so aptly named it 'Attempts at Clarity,' I was trying to document my writing life. It was to be a blog about how I made writing my centre, how I was about to finish my Young Adult story that had been floating in and between my fingers for the previous two years, and well, it was also to be a bit of a sanity break.

I didn't envision it to be useful to anyone other than me. It would force me to be honest and to write. The end.

After that brave announcement I didn't write again for two months. Kath was diagnosed with having survived her massive stroke and the blog morphed into talking about what was going on with my family, especially Kath. I found reading a blog by another mom to be useful so I had a new mission, to perhaps be another mom's 'voice in the dark.'

Over time I sometimes bounced in and out of actually listening to myself and the power of writing and I wrote...the name of this blog came true.

I write to try to clarify what I am living. Sometimes when I live and breathe I feel like I am muddling through the dark murky underwater of an alternative life. I peek up through it and see other people living 'normal lives' and I wonder who I may have killed in a previous life (like I'm living down a past life penance) that makes it seem I ALWAYS have so much going on.

I write to tell the story that is so clear in my mind sometimes that it's like a memory. That is a bit spooky when I go to relay an event/story and realize it's really one I created... :)

I write to remember because my memory seems to be suffering from some kind of ...what was I saying?

I write because if I don't I feel like I am not living. That may sounds weird to some of you, but when I write...I'm calmer, I understand more, I see more. That's probably the same for anyone who has a secret/or-not-so secret passion involving creativity (maybe just any kind of hobby).

My attempts at clarity are my reaching out to the 'normal world' and saying, "Hey, is there room for me?" And sometimes there are voices I hear and sometimes I hear nothing back.

Lately the voices (at least the ones in my head) have been clamoring to be heard (and read). They are tired of being silenced and placed on the 'After I Do Suchandsuch I Will Write' burner in my life. Lately I can almost taste this other life that I feel I need to grab onto...My Writing Life...with the feeling of 'the rest will be taken care of if I trust myself and the plan.' But I still also feel the pull of living in the 'normal world' and having a normal life/career/obligations/pension, so I get scared and go back to playing my part.

But this month I challenged myself to writing 50,000 words. I wanted to see if I really did have a Young Adult novel in me. I'm only a little past half way there with less than a few days of July to go, but I have written the beginning of a pretty decent story (if I do say so myself!). And I have found faith in myself. I will reach at least 50,000 by the end of the summer, but now I KNOW I've got 'it', so arbitrary lines in the sand are not as important to me at this point.

I wrote by hand this month, I carried a blue composition notebook with me everywhere. I wrote just about every day. I even wrote with a pencil (I love my pens), but I learned the differences of pencils--the ones made with REAL wood write much better! :) If I had 10 minutes, I wrote. This, in between visits to NYC, Long Island, the Science Museum, the Art Museum, doctor appointments, graduation parties, and the day to day summer world. Writing by hand somehow allowed my brain the ability to slow the white noise of the outside world and listen to that voice that keeps telling me to WRITE, to have faith in myself, and in my story.

And while doing this, listening to the voices in my head...guess what? I found I am seeing things with clarity. See? Writing works! It helps you make sense of your world, the real one and even the imaginary ones you create.

Join me for the second half of the summer. Pull up a notebook and a pencil. It doesn't have to be a Young Adult novel or a bestseller. It just has to be you writing for clarity, clarity for yourself. And be sure to let me know know how it goes! (What do you have to lose?)

Happy writing!

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