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10.21.2011

at some point, a few weeks ago...



























in a moment of sentience, i logged onto amazon.com and ordered the books i've been wanting and needing (books i've been thinking about for months). there is a book on the mechanics of writing, jonathan safran foer's first work--a collection of works inspired by joseph cornell (which i had misread as joseph campbell and thus expected something all together {and yet, not}). there is brian andreas' story people and at the last moment, i included in my bundle, leaping: revelations & epiphanies (having only just discovered this brian doyle character).

two days ago mr. doyle's work arrived in the mail, an answer to a prayer i hardly knew i had.

one of the first pieces is an essay on writing--on why he writes, on why anyone writes, really.

i often tell people i'm a writer. and feel fraudulent as i do so. what do you write, they ask? and i hardly know how to answer that. but this term "writer" it covers all manners of sins, no? and perhaps one day, i will be and i will claim the title with some authority, having actually written something that wings beyond this little corner of the internet. and because i intend to one day actually be such--a writer--i found the essay particularly important and meaningful. so indulge me, will you? allow me to share bits and pieces of it here?

(bits and pieces of ) WHY I WRITE |  BRIAN DOYLE


I look over the essays I have published over the course of twenty years of diligent scribbling and am astonished at their riotous incoherence...If there is a theme in all this it completely eludes the author, who feels that he has wandered into a pathless forest and is thrashing his way home armed with only a pen.


Which is sort of the point. Thrashing toward the light with a sharp pen is what writers do.


Why? [why write]

Because, as the fine essayist E. M. Forster said, "How can I know what I think until I see what I say?"


Because there have been times in my life when the only way I could handle rage and horror and fear was to write it down and thus fend it off, fight it, force it to retreat, understand it, hurt it. 


Because writing is a form of contemplation and a form of prayer.


Because writing occasionally leads to rapture. 


Because writing is a way to connect electrically and directly with other people, which we crave, while generally preserving privacy, which we also crave. ("Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself," wrote Walt Whitman.)


Because writing is a form of performance that does not demand physical grace or youth, and writers, despite their craving for privacy, like to be the center of attention, usually intermittently, rather than continually like film stars and Bill Clinton.


Because writers are, deep in their souls, didacts who itch to deliver the Unvarnished Truth and cannot help but unburden themselves of that which burns in their hearts. Writers are preachers. 

...It's what I do, and what I love to do, and no one else can do it quite like I do.


Better, perhaps--but not with my particular flavor and music, and somehow, in a way I do not wholly understand, that is important, and in a very real sense miraculous, and necessary. 




image
via.

14 comments:

Brittany said...

Meg, Leaping is probably my favorite collections of essays. It inspired me as a writer and as a spirit. So glad you found it and love it too.

MandyJean said...

I love this. Love, love, love.

Carrie Rosalind said...

I've been thinking about becoming a writer and have been looking for some books on the subject, so this recommendation could not have come at a more perfect time. Thanks for sharing...I'll definitely be checking it out! :)

Taylor said...

When you're done can you send all those books my way? Sounds like my perfect reading list. I will have to be stopping by amazon soon. It's nice to find someone who has similar interests in writing, because I have never in real life and sometimes I think I might be crazy.

Alexa Y. said...

Beautiful words. I am reminded yet again of why it is imperative tht I write. Thank you for sharing! :)

sarah nicole said...

Love this! I am going to have to pick up a copy. Thank you for sharing!

xo,

Sarah

Jane said...

Have you heard of Paperback Swap? http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php

My mom and I use it and love it -- since you read so much, I thought maybe you'd want to check it out too!

xoxo

molly jane said...

Everything that I have been thinking about lately was just summed up in this post. Beautiful. Bless you and Brian Doyle both for sharing.

Erin said...

I LOVE THIS! "...It's what I do, and what I love to do, and no one else can do it quite like I do."

Abigail Smith said...

-Cheers to having good reading material to cozy up with as the weather turns cold and bitter.

-My favorite part of the quote:
"no one else can do it quite like I do.

Better, perhaps--but not with my particular flavor and music"

Have a good weekend!

P.S.- you can def. call yourself a writer =)

Katya said...

I love this. All of it. Thanks for sharing!

Rebecca 'blinking' Simmonds said...

Wow, great idea for a post. Why the greats write.
I wrote a post on that feeling:creative fraud. If you're interested. http://www.rebeccasimmonds.co.uk/?p=376

Cassie said...

Yes! Yes! I'd scream if my husband and two kids weren't sleeping! This is fantastic.

x

Larissa Wunder said...

love these quotes! I love to write and ask myself sometimes why...thanks for the reminder ;)