Monday, March 29, 2010

Secret Life

Sometimes it feels like the writing life is a sort of secret one. Not in the typical sense--everyone I know is aware that I write, and more than half of them know that I do it in the morning--but more in the By Necessity sense.

What I mean is, writing is an incredibly private endeavor by nature. Not only is it something most people do in solitude, but it also removes the writer into something so distant from the minds of everyone else in the world that, until the work is read, the writer dwells independently in that space with no living soul to share it with. How odd it is to think that somewhere between the hours of five and ten each morning, I depart this world and enter another for at least a short time... and no one except me ever knows the difference.

Even odder to imagine how often such a thing happens each day across the world. Just have a look at the writing community on Twitter, and you'll constantly see little waves of farewell from writers who are diving out of the universe into a place of their own creation, disappearing from the world for a spell. And if you watch long enough, you'll see them announce their reemergence, brimming with emotion, eager to share what they've just experienced.

And I think that's what drives so many of us to seek out publication. Because when you have stories, you want to share them.

Granted, writing isn't a sacrifice, and it isn't necessarily a curse, but many who are driven to write begin to feel saddled by the responsibility after a while. Just for once, we think rather dismally, I'd like to enter a room and not immediately begin scanning it for elements of story. Just for once, I'd like to have a spare bit of time with absolutely nothing to do--no stories pressing to escape onto a page, no little edits to do, no frenzied searching for an agent who might represent me if appealed to with precisely the right combination of words. Just for once, I'd like to have someone else experience what I'm experiencing right along with me. Just for once, I'd like someone to come with me into this solitary world of narrative creation.

But then we remember why we do what we do: because, despite everything, we love to write more than anything else on this earth. Because the act of writing makes us come alive. And because, in the core of our being, we believe that what we write is somehow worthwhile to the world we live in. And we want to see it learn to fly.

"Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you."

-David Whyte


  1. True words.

    Beautiful thoughts.

  2. hi hanna. just popped over from another blog. enjoyed your post....and love your blog's name! very nice. :)

    The Character Therapist

  3. Thanks, Jeannie! It's lovely to "meet" you!

  4. I very much like reading your blog. I hope you post often.