Sunday, August 21, 2011

Why We Write

My former English professor-turned best-selling fiction author, Robert Hellenga, posted the following idea to his Facebook page today: "Anaïs Nin says that “we write to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospection.” There’s a lot of truth in that, but it’s not the whole truth. We also write to probe mysteries." I commented that I write to ward off the insanity.

But probing mysteries is also accurate, as is Nin's statement. My writing is largely reminiscences of the past, of moments I wish I could recapture, of feelings I didn't accurately express in the moment, or dialogs that run in loops through my head, unstoppable. Writing ideas, fantasies, triumphs and tragedies DO help me ward off my perpetual struggle with insanity. Some of what I write makes no sense to anyone except me.

My therapist said I should keep a journal of private thoughts that I *don't* want the entire websphere to know about. I disagreed with her on the subject. I live my life publicly, I love whom I want to love, and I speak my mind, regardless if gets me in a pickle or not. I write without abandon. I don't do drafts and find that type of writing very constrictive. I edit only grammar and punctuation. The rest is stream-of-consciousness. Some pieces turn out really well; others don't. I dig myself into a world-wide ditch posting some of the shit I write about.

I earned my BA in English-Writing in 1995. At the time, my writing was focused on poetry, on which I did my senior writing workshop. My poems were largely logopoeia, or language poetry. I used to sit with a thesaurus and thumb through to find words that I thought fit well together on paper. Sometimes those poems had spark and meaning. Other times, it was all disjointed blabber. I haven't written a poem in almost 15 years. I never got the hang of fiction writing, despite taking Hellenga's class (I think I got a C). I lacked the focus and attention span to write a solid piece of fiction and found poetry in it's brevity to be my preferred expression. Blogging again is a great outlet for my feelings/thoughts.

At present, I have 8 friends publicly following me on blogspot. I don't know (blogspot doesn't tell me) how many people are following me anonymously. Of those 8 people who are following out loud, the vast majority of them already love me. That's awesome. I am trying every avenue possible to advertise my blog so that more people follow it. I post links everywhere. My audience is a mystery. I have a natural writer's vanity when it comes to seeking attention through my writing. I want to be heard. The blog is a chance to tell everyone what's going on in my head when I don't have time to connect to each of you personally.

To me, it's a better expression of art than the crap I pulled in college taking studio art, when my pieces were unusual, interactive loads of hooey. I created a canvas on the floor of the art studio and painted a giant, horrible landscape of Chicago's skyline and had to re-paint the floor to it's original color after my project. I did a piece where I sat naked from the waist up and had all the other artists in class paint words on my back. I failed miserably at ceramics. Hell, I tried. But I always came back to writing.

My brain refuses to unwind. Part of being bipolar with manic tendencies. This is my outlet. Welcome to my life.

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