Beginning The Daily Writer

I’ve decided that I’m going to work my way through The Daily Writer by Fred White which is a book of writing exercises. 366 of them to be exact. Every morning, along with my morning coffee, I am going to flip this book open and tackle one of the exercises within, either the one for the current day or another one if that one doesn’t seem to fit me very well. I’m excited about it because I haven’t known how to break into writing, how to ready myself and begin to write something that’s fiction and not autobiographical. Believe me, I’ve got autobiography down, but even I get tired of hearing about myself all the time. It’s time for me to branch out and write fiction instead.

I am hesitant, because I wonder how much I have to say. I wonder if there are any stories inside me and, if there are, what they are and who they’re about. I want to write beautiful things, to construct dream catchers out of sentence strings, to create a world where good triumphs over the rotten, the ugly, the mundane. I want to create a magical place where anything can happen. Maybe that is too much to ask of myself, but all I know is that I have to try. I feel that, when the words start coming, the world will open up as if a black walnut shell with a hinge, and inside will be this perfectly wild nut.

 

Advertisements

fighting to escape

Who am I? It seems as though I am always searching for meaning, looking for “more”. I want my life to mean something to me, to my friends, to my children. I want to make a positive difference in someone’s life. I’m okay with that difference being miniscule. I just want to know that what I said or did mattered in some way.

I know that there have been writers I’ve read whose words have had the power to lift me out of my circumstances and transport me to another world, writers who have given me my dreams back when real life stole them away. I would like to be that type of writer, but if I can’t be that type of writer, maybe I could at least write something that would ease someone’s mind, that would make the day more enjoyable, something like a poem they could read aloud and get lost in.

That is one of the things that I love about Neruda’s poetry. I love reading him out loud. I feel like he is (and I do believe I’m not the first to say this) the people’s poet. He’s not a poet that you have to go to grad school to be able to understand. He doesn’t require me to have a dictionary next to his book so I can look up every word. I read him and I feel like I am lost in a forest or walking along a cliff by the seaside or meandering through a desert. He makes me want to get lost in nature for a while. He makes me want to learn the names of the wildflowers and the birds and paint each one of them into a poem.

Perhaps I should read more of him. Perhaps I should pull out this book of his that I love and once again devour his words, get lost in the wild lands he writes about, lands full of so much love.

I just know that I need to soak up someone’s words. I need to find my inspiration again, need to be passionate about my writing again. It has been too long, and I have felt the longing caking on me like rust or barnacles, like something that needs oiled or scraped off and removed.

Writing here is my attempt to reach out, to touch someone with my words, to be touched by the words I read in return. I’ve been a solitary creature for too long. I have been reclusive, antisocial, and so burdened by the mundane that I’ve just about given up on the passionate, creative, spiritual side of myself.

Writing here is teaching me that the part of me that I most love isn’t dead after all. It was simply in hibernation. Now I feel a tingle in my fingertips, the beginnings of a dream reawakening, and I breathe a sigh of relief that I’m making it through one of the darker chapters in my life.

I didn’t die that time that I tried. It was messy, and I learned what it was like to be hospitalized (more than once), but maybe all that has shaped me into who I am now. A fighter. An intense woman, a strong person full of compassion and love.

Now I need to turn my experiences into poetry or prose, mold it into something worth reading. I don’t know how to do that. When faced with the blank page, I feel this overwhelming sense of inadequacy, this overwhelming fear of failing. I need to overcome that, though, because my voice is fighting to escape.

a home for a nomad

one of my favorite books

I’m frustrated today because I came across a reference to this book, and I was unable to find my copy of it. Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones is one of my favorite writing books. It’s one of the few (no, I think it’s the only) writing books that I’ve bought more than one copy of. When I read her writing, I’m inspired. It makes me want to try again just when I’ve come close to giving up. She writes,

I write because I am alone and move through the world alone. No one will know what has passed through me… I write because there are stories that people have forgotten to tell, because I am a woman trying to stand up in my life… I write out of hurt and how to make hurt okay; how to make myself strong and come home, and it may be the only real home I’ll ever have.

She really speaks to me in these words. I have always felt like a nomad, endlessly traveling, without a place or a home I could call my own. I think, though, that my home is something that I carry within me. Maybe it is found only there where it cannot be destroyed, where it cannot be knocked down or devalued, devoured or pissed upon. Maybe it is a hidden gem within me, one of the few things that is mine and mine alone.

I take comfort in thinking that my home cannot be destroyed. When so much else of what I love I have lost, it is a relief to know that there is something important, something necessary that I can’t lose or gamble away. Whenever I need it, it is there waiting for me, fresh as an early morning rain, consistent as the ocean’s waves.

hiding the only light I have

It’s late morning here, and I’m sitting here drinking coffee and wondering where this day will take me. There is so much cleaning that needs done here, but what I want to do is go out for a drive, feel the wind pushing my hair back, maybe go up to the overlook and sit on the rock up there and look out across the fields below.

At the same time, I want to spend the day devouring poetry, dipping into Sylvia Plath’s journals, scouring my thesaurus for new words and feeding my muse. It’s been too long since I’ve fed her, too long since I’ve soaked up words that inspire me to write. I am reminded of Bukowski’s “So You Want To Be A Writer”, and I’m a little angry at him for what he says in that poem. What if the words don’t come bursting out of me? What if I have to struggle and bleed them out? Like Ernest Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

So, here I am. I’m faced with the idea of sitting down and bleeding it all out. Indeed, writing has often felt that way to me. It’s so personal. I give so much of myself. What do I get in return? Does it matter? Do I dare write out the stories that are inside me? Do I dare expose myself in that way?

Poetry. It’s a way to take all the messy details of my life and lie them out in rows, a way to make order and (sometimes) meaning out of chaos. Maybe today will be the day I try to untangle the mess. Maybe today will be the day I start again, the day the poetry comes slowly bleeding out of me again. Would today be too soon? Am I ready? It scares me to open up and share myself. At the same time, it scares me to hide away the only light I have.

when joie de vivre goes missing

I’ve always been a dreamer, always seen myself as having something about me that is more than what I show the people in my life. I suppose I see myself as having a secret side that I either don’t know how or don’t want to share. Maybe there is too much risk in sharing something so personal. Maybe it is a fear of rejection or a fear of being hurt again just when I’m finally able to be vulnerable.

Whatever the case, several years ago, I stopped writing. The words got stuck somewhere in the plumbing of my mind. What used to flow freely became clogged and stagnant. When words did ooze out, they disappointed me more than inspired me to write more. I felt like I was failing every time I put words down onto paper.

In addition to the feeling of failing, my H began to read my journal when I went somewhere. I’d come back from running errands or going to the park with the kids, only to be faced with an angry confrontation because something that I wrote about him was less than favorable.

All things combined, I just couldn’t write anymore. One kind woman I knew told me that sometimes the soul goes into hibernation. I liked her way of explaining it. That way, I didn’t have to face the fact that maybe the creative part of me had died. I was instead able to rest in the certainty that, someday, it would wake back up again.

I hope someday my creativity will come back. I hope I won’t continue to be barren of passion and intensity. I hope that my spark, my joie de vivre will return. Maybe this year will be the one where I come back to life, the one where I start to live again, where the words wake up inside me and begin to flow again. A girl can dream.