Thursday, August 02, 2012

Writing to Write

     I've tried writing with no rules, and with strict rules and pledges; in fancy books and in any old notebooks; with hand turned fountain pens and any old giveaway ballpoint. I've been confused to silence by blogging, wondering where journalling fit in, whether it had a purpose beyond marking the fine line between what I did and did not dare to say aloud. Always hovering at the margins the truth; that there are many things I don't say aloud that I don't articulate anywhere at all.
    I know I chase a certain atmosphere by keeping a journal-- the books, the pens, the trappings seem to me more of a comfort than the words themselves; the doing, an escape-- the evocation of cabins, of sea air, of days spent in temporary escape where ability and possibility seem so simply and clearly limitless. I've always tried to write at times and in places where I could imagine (pretend?) that my daily introspection ran on some other, better track than that familiar map of fears, regrets, and inadequacies. The critical voice, the one that cut down weed and flower with equal determination and indifference has always been at hand to say "What's the point of this?" or, "What can you reasonably expect?" I suppose the accusations can be distilled to one theme: "Just who do you think you are?"
Maybe that is a question worthy of an answer-- not as some kind of defense or apology, but for my own satisfaction. Writing to please has left me paralyzed. The effort of meeting expectation is a curious source of resentment. Curious, because I enjoy writing things people like to read. But I am overly critical of my own writing, immediately discarding some ideas and overwhelmed by others. In any case the only way to develop ideas is to engage in the exercise, whether for an audience or not. Waiting for ideas to spring fully formed and relevant on demand is frustrating for no other reason than this is simply not how it works.
     So I set pen to paper (because that is how much of this begins) with no promise, purpose, or destination in mind. We'll see where it goes together.

12 comments:

just some guy ranting said...

Glad you are writing again. Please keep it up.

writingintothelight said...

My dear Kim,
Get off your own case! Without even trying to write what pleases others. You please others because you show them a new idea or perspective on the world. You put into words what others wish they could. You are able to help others clarify their own feelings and thoughts. Don't try to write to please, just put pen to paper and let go.
Now, about that "Tartar Sauce" candle... you want a topic ~ you've peaked all of our interest... Love you, glad to see your words in print again...

Lisa said...

And we get what to see what you come up with . . . so excited to watch it unfolded. one of my most treasured letters from my college days is from you because it was so beautifully written. The other is from Dad. :-) Complete with a smooshed bug in one of the margins with an arrow drawn to it.

Lin said...

Writing to please....hmmmmmm. I'm not sure that is always possible because there is always someone there to judge. Do it for yourself, with an audience in mind. If they like you, they will stay and read. If they don't...well....bon voyage. :)

I'm glad you are posting again!

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I guess its about trusting my voice without pre-emptive editing or judgement and dismissal. One of my hopes is to set that habit aside.

Lin said...

Do you do "daily papers?" I learned to do that in a creative writing class--where you just sit and write for a set time each day. There is no editing, no thinking, no stopping yourself. Who cares if it makes no sense or doesn't flow? It's just to get you to break down those self-imposed walls. That might help.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I haven't done that in years, but it is a very good idea. Even if I use it to fiddle with sentences I have in my head that sort of exercise would prime the pump and get things moving. Thank you for that suggestion!

Jocelyn said...

You are such a gorgeous writer, as this incredibly perceptive bit proves: "I know I chase a certain atmosphere by keeping a journal-- the books, the pens, the trappings seem to me more of a comfort than the words themselves; the doing, an escape..."

We are fans. It's okay to be a critic of yourself, but not to the point that you use it as a means to shut yourself down.

meleah rebeccah said...

I cannot begin to tell you just how much I can relate to this. Only, I never would have been able to say it so eloquently.

"Writing to please has left me paralyzed. The effort of meeting expectation is a curious source of resentment. Curious, because I enjoy writing things people like to read. But I am overly critical of my own writing, immediately discarding some ideas and overwhelmed by others."

Um, yeah.

injaynesworld said...

Regarding "writing to please:" All you owe your readers is craft. Well-structured sentences, correct spelling and good grammar. After all, you wouldn't invite company for dinner and then serve them on dirty plates. The "art" part of it -- the ideas and emotions -- what you choose to serve your guests, that belongs to you. Some will like what you serve. Others won't. So serve what makes you happiest. When we strive to please everyone, we end up pleasing no one, least of all ourselves.

Paula Wooters said...

There are so many times I've sat down to write and absolutely nothing comes into my head. An idea that seemed promising yields nothing. I may be absent for months before I return to the blog. Then one day, out of the blue, something speaks to me and the writing flows easily. Maybe I'm just lazy!

Jaffer said...

My Blogpost ideas in Evenote keep piling up - many out dated and many I feel may be only worth a Facebook Share.

I have always enjoyed your style and humour. So please continue what you have done best.