2022 We Take Up The Quill!
A perfect time to clear the cobwebs, renew our writers goals, and reap the joys from our time honored craft.
With great anticipation, I stare at the blank page before me.
Except today I know where it’s going. It’s very clear. Like a calling for today on behalf of all fellow writers at all skill levels and those considering taking up the time-honored passion of writing.
Today’s post is honoring the New Year, 2022, its’ promise, there for the taking.
Today, the set up undeniably imbued with promise, a heightened sense of uplifting hope and positivity. Right away I ask why? There’s no telling, really. It’s just there. Usually ‘it’s’ not there. Usually it’s more like just putting it out there, under the light. Maybe an incoming fog will move it off center, maybe a brilliant sun will burn away the layers or veils, and maybe something big causes the glasslike surface to ripple with a surge of power.
I never know until I’m knee deep into it, you know, several pages in. Even then, after finishing say three pages worth of what we could call free flow, nothing gels. Often not for days or weeks or longer will something arise from today’s notes. Today’s notes are my writing routine a la King, (and countless others in fact) who stress the importance of getting down a certain number of words daily.
Today’s writing is in honor of all those who take up the pen and paper. In honor of you. Pen and paper, though quaint, conjures up the heartwarming images when people really did with quill in hand over a rough parchment rendered words of love, poetry and mystery, challenges and fears.
Today, more accurately I might say take up the laptop. Yet, even so, today many, including myself there can be something inexplicably rewarding and re-energizing from the simple, ancient habit of taking pencil in hand and a yellow pad and write one’s heart out.
My Mother, bless her wise heart, always first wrote her handful of book length mysteries using her №2 pencils. Her words in longhand were like miniature sculptures, powerfully confident, stylistic and full, as though her sentences were in fact a classical musical score.
Her writing years began in the forties and went until the late eighties. Of course, she never really stopped writing. Not until the body no longer cooperated was she forced to allow this noble activity to wane.
I’m discovering as time goes by that if I hazard a dive into a creative door way, a passageway, I will frequently uncover what the impetus was underlying today’s efforts. A story suddenly takes form, sometimes obvious, sometimes a real sweat, requiring some marathon creative work, remodeling in a way. Like my story last week of the Mayans.
The story began with an agricultural element quickly elevated to a different and more interesting read thanks to the ancient Maya culture.
That time, as I was finishing up, I got that familiar inkling that there was a story unfolding. Very simple and yet seemingly so improbable! I mean, where do I get off with that if I just write the story will arise? A bit like that wonderful movie ‘Field of Dreams’ with Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones; ‘Build it and they will come’, remember?
Costner builds the baseball diamond from a field full of tall cornstalks and no sooner than when he’s finishing the labor of love and as evening is settling in there appears stretching far down the country roads leading to his farmhouse the bouncing headlights of baseball fanatics slowly but surely crawling to his diamond. I think Costner then calls to his incredibly tolerant and much wiser wife and asks about making some snacks for some visitors. As I recall, his wife responds with something like, ‘oh sure honey, like how many, four?’ Forgive me if my memory weaved a not terribly accurate description, but you get the idea.
So if you write it, the story will come, and who knows, maybe even the readers. For without readers, some would say why bother? I’m not entirely sure of that sentiment. I’ve never been sure of that conclusion, in fact. For me, the effort to write has always been a personal endeavor. Mostly rewarding. An unfolding of my making ultimately for my own purposes.
Don’t even venture there. Of course, I’d love to have thousands of people following the things I have to say. To have an audience, as do some of my Medium favorites: Sinem Gunel, Tim Denning and Sean Kernan to name but a few of the truly skilled. I must confess that even with my limited number of readers, I’m pleasantly surprised to have even them.
The question then arises: do I write for them? The answer has to be: yes, to a great extent. Yes, for me it’s a humbling thing to even have three or four that make an effort to see what I’ve written. I’m closer to eight hundred, in Medium, for which only gratefulness occurs to me.
Cathartic? Perhaps. Though this overused, now multi use word might cover many others which try to describe what really goes on when a writer is writing. One thing for sure is that, in the act of writing, something of note is happening. Some even call it something more romantic, marvelous, a creation in the act. Ah, the muse… More on that in a second.
But first, more on the cathartic word. Cathartic, for me, means an evolving, an unfurling (as a Buddhist teacher once tried to explain to me the meaning of being here, in the present). It’s fair to say I feel the same about writing. As I write, a part of my life, my existence seems to take a firmer hold. Grounding is appropriate.
As for creation.
Maybe I risk a little flack by calling it ‘raw’ creation. Creation, rather than the word creativity, can draw fire from various corners, I know. But read it for what it is. Obviously, there is no equating to being godlike. We traditionally left creation up to something most call god. You know, I’m referencing what we may call for this post, Major League Creation.
No baseball connections here intended, although two so far…
We’ll run with it…
The creation I’m referring to here is simply the writer, me, you, and everyone sitting at our writing places. Maybe our carefully appointed desk, some look neat others look like a tornado swept through (despite all my efforts to the contrary), or today maybe you’re sitting along the remaining fall colored shores of a cold and hidden Wisconsin lake, hot chocolate smoking deliciously about you. Distracting from this northern exotic, frost covered vista are four most improbable, giant, I mean huge, colorful locusts trying to make a meal of your blue jeans hem.
Off in the mirror like, mist shrouded, early morning lake, a loon or two sing their unique cry. I almost said: most unique cry and instantly my Mothers voice in the mist: ‘No son, just unique, not most, you can’t get more unique than just unique.’
The deliciously eerie loon sounds that drag us back into the netherworlds of other realities.
Then again, we may attempt to write the middle part of a post hidden from our boss in a skyscrapers cubicle. You’re following your passion, yes, your bliss, (surely ‘he’ wasn’t the first to use these exact words). No, I don’t accept it, never have.
The beauty of it is that this description is for you to decide on. As a writer, I can certainly take part, but my choice has nothing over the next persons (despite many voices to the contrary). Maybe that’s another appealing reason we write. There is a freedom there. Others will determine if what you wrote reaches a certain level of acceptance, interest, and quality.
Does it give? Does it take? Is it done with a steady eye on quality story telling?
After all, as there is throughout nature; there are rules that must be followed in order for the creation to really take place. In Mother Nature’s world, it’s deceptively too simple. An ant decides on its own to take the other route back to the anthill, bringing a piece of leaf. The ants’ decision has a certain cost. It means that it will lose its life to a waiting spider, a big one, who somehow senses that sooner than later a freewheeling ant will choose this route.
Some, uh, food for thought.
Rules are followed to promise a complete and well written story, or else…
May the above words prove to be a creative supplement to your writers’ passion…
Besides the discipline writing clearly requires, there is the undeniable joy it brings us. It might even suggest that if the act of writing no longer provides that joyous thrill to the bone that it may be time to reassess, to rediscover the passion. Bring out the WD-40, duct tape and baling wire.
Make the supreme effort to once again ride the wave of creation and reap its endless rewards.
As we all know, writing can take us up and down. As with most worthwhile endeavors in life, often renewed effort is called for. Maybe it’s time to rejoin the writers’ group, take that course from one of the better known on-line options. Join Medium and dust off some works you’d put aside. Rework them, find the shine they once promised. Countless gems sit gathering dust on these mental or cloud shelves. Kick start your day with a stronger coffee, light the incense, maybe a candle.
A la King: crank up the music!! Crank it up! Get the adrenaline flowing on a par with surfing!
So you know this still calls out to you, strong, and you sense deep rewards in store for your efforts, even completing your daily set number of words! Make absolutely sure that you allow no one to declare that you’re not quite up to the challenge. The decision is yours to make. If this is making sense to you:
Then, by all means, write!
For wherever you are on the path, beginners or established writers, may 2022 be a year in which you realize, more than ever, your desired goals as a writer!