"We're all just walking each other home." - - Ram Dass

Monday, May 5, 2014

On Writing

There are few things in life I love more than people, writing, and reading.

So when posts of some of my favorite writers started showing up as part of a blog tour of different writing processes and voices, I knew I was a goner.  I have read every one that my little fingers can click and scroll on.

Imagine my delight when a writer I adore, Galit Breen of These Little Waves asked me if I would be a stop on her train.  It took me about 30 seconds to say 'yes'.  Do yourself a favor and go check out the incredible way that Galit creates a writing platform for herself, all the while never losing her incredible open and sincere voice.  It's a gift.  But while you're here - here's a little of my process.

What am I working on?

My most on-going and in progress writing project I have is the novel I am writing based on my grandparent's real life love story.  The spine of this story growing from the love letters  penned in my grandfather's hand, complete with tiny smudges of dried teardrops my grandmother shed waiting for his ship to return.  She has entrusted to my keeping the family history, stories, and pictures.  I'll be honest to say that I feel the weight of all that love, and wanting to do their remarkable story proud.  But I keep showing up, page after page.  Pretty sure that this first draft will be mostly crossed out, started again. But yet, I believe in the thread that binds these lives and this story together.  I hope I can get out of the way and allow the story to weave itself.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think that the most distinct quality of my work comes from the final form that most of my writing takes, which typically falls out in poetic stanza form.  It's interesting to me even as the writer, as I never intend for it to do so, but from the time it makes its way from my journals to the screen, it morphs itself into a more sparse form.  I like my words to breathe.  To give the reader the trust and ability to move within my words to find their own stories or their own lives.  I have a distinct cadence to how I write and to how I speak those words, never in a hurry for us to leave that shared space, that shared conversation.

Why do I write what I do?

Because, this. (Note my 7-yr-old wrote himself from the book I wrote him.)

As long as I've had a self-concept, it has always been a part of me to wish to share and to connect on deep levels.  To be known.  To experience this life with others.  And writing has always been that vessel for me.  Then, I became a mother.  And almost daily I can lose my breath for the gravity of that station, in its unique way of creating souls that know each other by heartbeat.  I want to leave for them ink-pressed-to-page reminders of the love, the struggle, and the hard-won beauty it is to be alive and to belong to one another.  And if I can remind one or two of the rest of us that we're all just walking each other home? All the better.

  How does my writing process work?

Slowly.  I have never been a person that can crank out instant thoughts into articulate or artistic words.  I need my life and my words to rise within me slowly and spill over organically. I watch life carefully.  Then, I allow for that life to pass me through.  I find when I keep my hands outstretched those pearl moments or slivers of truth stay in my hand while the rest of the thoughts, grand statements, or big feelings lift off into the wind.  I know what stays with me after this time of stillness are my truths.  I write best early morning just having awoken, my mind still crossing from dream.  I write from the same mental and physical place I inhabit when I read.  Nothing has shaped my writing process more than the time I have spent within books.  Just as I search for my subjects, I try to capture not the shape of an event, but the shadow.  The under current.  I am far more interested in essence than I am substance.  I think our hearts are too.  There is something magic in creeping down stairs to my little desk I found on the side of the road, while my house still sleeps, and creating bits of the world I would like to live in.

And now, my turn:

Next Monday, May 12th I have asked my soul-sister Angela from Imagine Angie to share with us her process.  This woman speaks and walks in the thin deep places and I am always moved by her words and her spirit.  Please join me next week at her place to soak in her soul wisdom.