Recently I read "Big Magic" by Elizabeth Gilbert
Actually I listened to it on Audio Tape whenever I cleaned the bathroom, but ultimately I loved the book. Gilbert warns against treating writing like work. I had to do some self reflecting on this concept. Like, sitting in a room staring at a wall, drinking many glasses of wine, REFLECTING.
Writing is solace and beauty and home. Does that mean that it isn't also work?
Writing is the love of my life. IF creativity is the spiritual energy that she speaks of, please don't flitter away from me for saying this ... Writing CAN be hard. It is also my best friend. I spend most of my Saturday and Sunday afternoons holed up in a coffee shop, jotting down ideas and sending out stories. However, that doesn't mean that sometimes the process isn't tiring.
It simply isn't always THE BEST TIME EVER. Constant rejection is never easy to swallow. Writing is putting yourself on the edge - always. You are stepping in front of a battering ram, with the knowledge you will be knocked down, time and time again. Gilbert talks about her wildly successful novel and all the bad press it got. Some people hated her novel. Some people loved her novel, but ultimately she wrote that novel for herself.
When I write, I cut my fingertips open and spread my blood across the page like water color paints. I think Elizabeth Gilbert would abhor that statement. IT is fairly dramatic and Martyr-esque. I can admit that. Yet, sometimes I re-read my own words and they are a knife to the gut. How many break ups have I relived from my own dang stories? Memories fade, but I have captured events from my past and tucked them away, so they can never be forgotten. Why?
Publishing is something that wasn't important to me until about a year ago. I wanted the world to read "Grimm and White" because the idea had struck me so brightly. I wanted people to experience the world in my head with me. I didn't feel right keeping it to myself. I wanted people to know my words, to gulp them down like a pill. Publishing had not always been the goal. It was just something that I did.
I started writing bad poetry because Emily Dickinson had so prominently displayed her words on the page, combined they were a crystal ball into her elusive life. I knew that most of my favorite novelists had been tortured artists and yet, I wanted to write despite this. Sylvia Plath. Edgar Allen Poe. All died with a plume of sadness surrounding them. I don't think any of them were writers for the money. No, I think they wrote because they had to. I was in the third grade when I started writing in a prolific nature. It wasn't because I wanted to be famous or because I wanted to make money. I wrote because I was wringing out the sponge. I was taking the pain and putting it on paper. I was taking my joy and putting it into words.
I think that the best writing is done with good intentions. I wrote "Grimm and White" because the story had stuck to every inch of me and putting the story down on paper was the only way to lessen the weight I was carrying. Then there are the stories that I can tell were never meant to exist. They are the 'ego' stories. The 'look what I can do' stories. The 'look at my degree' works.
I was afraid to write fantasy in college because there was a stigma surrounding the genre. Some people were snooty, plain and simple. Now, looking back, I'm really fucking proud of myself for never censoring my ideas. Even when I knew that other people were judging me, I didn't hold back. There was the style that they were accustomed to. That's fine. I'm so thankful for my college education. I don't believe I would be the writer I am without it. I had to learn when to take people's opinions and when to say ... You are a different kind of writer. I don't need my words to be clean. Sometimes I make mistakes and it isn't out of laziness. I write to show people my soul and my soul isn't always beautiful. It is jagged and confused. It is the reflection on the ground when it rains, both bright and dim. My writing can be cliche because isn't that what life is, ONE BIG CLICHE.
Maybe it doesn't matter why I write. It seems silly to question something that I have done for twenty years. I just have to. Some days it feels like work and other days it feels like oxygen. I just have to do it and so therefore I do.
When I wake up I think about writing. When I go to sleep I think about writing. My words are my heaven. They are my hell. They have helped me get through the worst times of my life. I am not the tortured writer. However, I have grappled with its importance within my everyday routine. Where should I place writing on my list? I think anyone who knows me can tell you that answer. Writing is first. Words are first. I'm going to be late to dinner because I'm writing this blog post.
Now that I am finished reflecting or now that I really have to go because if I don't I will be the kind of late that is extremely frowned upon, I have realized the only answers I found may not really be answers. They are questions disguised in a sentence format. I'm tricky like that.
I've had to much coffee. And I really have to go now. Yet, I don't feel like I have found an end.
Writers, the ones who consider the word a part of their blood, don't have endings.
So this is not "The End ..."
It's a story that will continue in some way, some time, again and again.
About the blog:
Emily Ann Hansen
I'm a writer and teacher living in Baltimore City. I'm originally from Chicago. I graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Fiction. Instead of babbling, I will list a few of the things in life that make me happy: