We Must Try

June 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Writing is about becoming whole; it is about meeting ourselves fully intact; it is about integration, patching up the broken pieces, sculpting something whole from the fragments of our memory. It’s about creating a piece of work in time from something that does not exist in time.

Writing is not about good or bad, better or worse, it’s about this: Is what I am saying true, not necessarily on a factual level but on a level of what I meant to say, that is, has it been examined on the levels of my heart and mind, and does it meet the needs of my intuition to express what I know must be expressed.

Sometimes, more often than not, writing is about wringing out from inside of myself the last tears I can muster — for what? For the things I’ve lost — they too are “the sculptors of exquisite beauty” says my instructor Betsy Warland — for the people I’ve loved, for the moments I will never live again, for the act of letting go and creating anew. Sometimes, laughter too escapes as one scribbles down the words.

Writing is about opening to insight, communicating with life through a story.

“It’s good” implies finality and it imposes judgement (writing cannot advance — in fact, it can barely even happen — when judgement is present). A piece of writing is never finished, as a sculpture made of clay can always be smoothed over one last time. With writing, there is always a potential that lies farther afield, and as we reach out to it, we find it is an illusive excellence that dodges from our grasp. As with all art. As with all of life.

As writers we use the imperfect medium of language to express something that is perfect but often can only really exist in its fullest form outside of the words themselves. In other words, we use language to express the things that can never be fully expressed — grief, joy, wonder, transcendence, age, time, feelings, memories or moments we will never live again. As writers, we feel a profound frustration at this, and yet, if we are called to write, we know we must try anyway, and not give up.

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