Thursday, February 12, 2009

Storming Thoughts

I'm not going to lie to you: this blog has tortured me recently. I want to write, I really do. I have been harassed about not writing, I have searched for things to write about, I have had a million thoughts, ideas, experiences, and general minutia to tell you about, but when it came down to it, I just couldn't do it.

The truth is I write a lot. At any given time, I have four journals in rotation; one typical journal, one beautiful red leather journal with the title Letters Unsent imprinted on the cover, one embossed turquoise journal that I use as a devotional, and another general notebook that serves as a catchall. I write every day, all day, by scribbling in notebooks, saving Word documents with single sentences in them, doodling on sticky notes, sending emails...I am constantly writing something.

So it's weird when I feel like I can't express myself, as has been the case lately. I feel like I have so much to say, so many thoughts to get out of my head, but I have been stunted by a lack of expression. Maybe it's because my thoughts are not yet fully formed. They are like clouds; sometimes there a few dotting the sky, light and fluffy and lovely, and other times they are like a solid, thick, gray carpet, oppressively covering my brain with their darkness. Either way, I cannot separate them individually any more than I can control when they come. I am in the middle of a tempest, a private storm, and the last thing I want to do is bog down my work with writing merely for the sake of writing.

Don't get me wrong -- that kind of work has a very important place in my life. But it's not what I use my blog for. I want to write with a purpose, for a reason, and if I can't say anything meaningful or funny or thoughtful or entertaining, I'm not going to post empty garbage. It's not worth it. I was struck by a prose poem today that embodies how I feel about writing, or how I write at least. I want to share it with you, if for nothing else than to explain how I view writing. I hope it makes some sense.

PS: Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for wanting to read my writing to the point where you bother me to update. Thank you for being my constant audience. You're great.

so you want to be a writer


if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

— Bukowski


ttcrook said...

See, that wasn't that hard :)
That poem was sweet.

E.E.King said...

That poem is really thought-provoking. Those things really HAVE to be the standard for our lives because, deep down, it's the standard we have for ourselves, even though, so often we have talked ourselves into settling for living in the dull, empty things all around us.
Truthfully, when we start looking for things that would fulfill us by meeting those deep, hidden standards, we begin to realize that the list is very, very short.

Now I'm just squinting to try to make it out.....

Crazy 'bout Him said...

My dear, amazing friend, I hope your thoughts bursts forth from you forever. For all our sakes.

Shelby said...

I think it is a testament to your maturity that you can resist posting something that you don't really like just to appease your audience and bask in the glow of complimentary comments.

But, I'm not sure I agree entirely with that poem. Sometimes a simple, quiet thought is worth writing down and leaving untouched. It's kind of like a reminder to yourself of feelings or ideas you once had, even if only briefly, you know?