Friday, October 8, 2010

Write, write, and when you're finished, write some more

Like the fool I am and I'll always be, I once taught a class at the Loft titled, "Free the Horses; Overcoming Writer's Block."

I hate to brag, but I've never been "blocked" as a writer in my life.  So, what the Sam Hill was I was thinking when I offered that damn class?

You can imagine the folks who enrolled.

Okay - now before I go any further, if you are one of the unfortunates who took this class from me, my sincere apologies for what I am about to reveal about your sorry-self.

But come on now - - I mean. . .

There was the earnest, middle aged banker who never had time to write the novel that was screaming to escape his sad, vacant life. He sat beside the young woman so filled with rage over her husband's infidelity that her cramped soul yearned to break loose and slam all men in one glorious sashay through creative non-fiction.

And then there was the one woman in the class who said she couldn't write because she was "afraid."

That's right.


Don't get me wrong.  I gave everyone in the class a wonderful experience.  I was kind to all of my students. There was not then, nor is there now, anything to "fear" when writing for one of my classes. No animals were harmed in the writing of any Loft sponsored essay.

And so I comforted the poor, frightened woman who couldn't bring herself to pick up a pen.
I was a nicer woman in those days.

Today, I'm afraid I'd cut loose on the poor thing.

"What the hell are you afraid of?" I'd scream,  I'd  hate myself in the morning.  But good Lord, get over yourself!  Afraid of writing?  We're talking about a pen, a piece of paper and a great idea.   Nothing malignant, nothing homicidal.

You, however, are not like the poor unfortunate souls who staggered into my Loft class.

You want to write.   You crave it.  When you cannot do it, you become irritable, surly.  You sometimes drink rather than write, but you would rather write than drink.

A pad of paper, squared at the corners, makes your bone marrow ache.  Touching a fountain pen stops your lungs from functioning, and a spiral notebook, new and inviting, is enough to bring you to tears.

You love ink.  You love the way it flows across the page. You thrill at the wondrous ways you write the letter "G."  You wish you could do this all day, every day.  Oh please, God.. . . take not this great love from me.

You, my friend, are the real deal.

So get to it.

Some people love to shop.  Others love to tinker in the garage, organizing their tools, sharpening their lawn-mower blades.

Some people like to fiddle around with water colors or golf until they drop.

You?  You envy Steinbeck. You wish you had written the first book about Rabbit.  You love stories about Salinger and wonder why he never phoned to ask about your literary muse.

So don't tell me you're blocked.

I won't hear it.

I know you.  I know how much satisfaction you get when an editor publishes you; when you're recognized on the street by a reader who says, "I love the way you write."

You love the way you write too.

The year book, the newspaper, the poetry journal; that's you. While the others in the office are playing Sudoku behind the supervisor's back, you're working on your outline, your poem, your short story.

Never stop believing there's room for you.  In our father's house are many mansions. One is prepared for you.

Own it.  Love it.

Write it.

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