Monday, May 16, 2011

A Writerly Life

There is nothing so pleasant, so relaxing, so freeing, as putting pen to paper and birthing forth words. As I plundered my Quotation Journal this cloudy afternoon, a day far too cool for May, I unearthed a little gem that perfectly expresses this joy of writing:

"It's such a pleasure to write down splendid words--almost as though one were inventing them."
--Rupert Hart-Davis
It's a compelling thing, this urge to write. I have to admit, though, that writing feels a great deal more like work when a computer is involved. I adore pen and paper far too much--the simple mechanics of watching words flow across a page.

And I treat myself to superior writing implements. My favorite pen--the one I use in daily life for grading, for correspondence (yes, I write actual notes and letters--handwritten ones!), for lesson planning, for jotting the grocery list--is a Waterman fountain pen, a royal blue swirl with gold trim which I refill with blue cartridges. When I am truly ambitious, I write with a rosewood-handled, brass-nibbed pen that I dip in sepia ink. about the purest of joys, especially when writing on quality parchment-type paper or in a leather-bound journal!

Although I have not recently been blogging as much as I have in past years, I have been writing...fiction, of all things! Those of you who know my writing style have my permission to quirk an eyebrow in my particular direction...I am so NOT a creative writer. My strengths as a writer lie in clear prose and intense poetry, not in imaginative fiction. But while I have been pushing myself to write fiction, I haven't had the wherewithal to compose blog posts. I suppose I need to channel some writing energy into other areas besides my wee, silly novella.

The quotation I really wanted to share with you all this week (you get two for the price of one this week...lucky YOU!) is about the compulsion to write. As I read my Mother's Day gift from my daughter this afternoon (The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide), Meyer discusses her compulsion to write the first book, and I couldn't help laughing a little and agreeing.

Writing is a compulsion--an addiction almost. It's the one thing I do in which I lose track of time, even if I'm merely blogging. I can write for two hours and not realize the passage of time as I am so involved on my wordy little world. And thus I discovered this quotation, jotted down ten months ago in my Quotation Journal:

"The only reason to be a professional writer is that you can't help it."
--Leo Rosten (1908-1997)
Do I ever live this truth! Writing is hard work, and I can procrastinate like you wouldn't believe...until I sit myself down and pick up my pen or start tapping on the keyboard. Then I'm on another planet, and words are my raw materials and ink (or the keyboard) is my tool as I carve out a little corner of the world for myself.

And I can't help it. I have to do it.

Writerly blessings,


Maegan said...

Thanks for that post. It was fun to get a behind the scenes on why writers do what they do and how anyone could possibly write a book.

Susanne Barrett said...

Thanks, Maegan! :) I'm working on Chapter 29 of my novella, and I never thought I'd write something like this. It's compelling. :)


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