I got rhythm, I got music, I got my love, who can ask for anything more?
Writing Tip # 3: My Love!
LOVE is why we write. There’s no guarantee of any benefit (traditional publication, financial reward, or feedback) from your time or toil other than the feeling you receive from the task. But nothing can steal that feeling and the sense of accomplishment from a completed work.
Yet, that fascination with a narrative world of our own imagining propels us. Perhaps we fall in love with our own minds, with the characters we form and breathe into life. Perhaps, it’s the reshuffling of autobiography into a different life in which we can go anywhere, any time, any place, any planet. We can become anyone: a prima ballerina, a prostitute, a president, a scientist. We can become confrontational when we are shy, or beautiful when we are plain. Writing bestows other lives.
When writing is going well, it imparts a feeling of awe. Previous blogs provided tips for provoking this through rhythm and music. Perhaps it’s the wonder our minds rediscover in the world as we sit at our computer or with pen in hand that enthralls us. The seduction of the prose is an amazing new lover with the mirroring between you pushing to discover hiding parts of yourself. When we write, we gather our words, our ideas, our sense of letting go to a new wherever and a recommitment to life.
Where does this love affair start? I suspect it starts when we’re young and realize this is a way have agency over a world in which we are vulnerable and yoked by adults. The thrall of prose presents a place that is our own, a home for secrets and hopes. I remember exactly when I fell in love with writing. In eighth grade, we had been given an assignment to write a letter thanking benefactors for donating a painting to our school. I thought the portrait of the two overly pink girls was insipid (though I doubt if I knew that word then) but behind them was the ocean. I gazed at the sea stretching to the horizon, wrote of my longing, and recaptured the peace and contentment that I experience on the seashore. Awe. I was hooked. Chasing the dragon for the awe high, and a sense of meaning from creation since.
This happened with one of my children, too. A teacher enforced daily writing time during which the kids could say anything they wanted. Pretty soon, she was penning imaginative stories full of the terrors of childhood—sharks tore people apart and a little girl sewed the parts together to recreate the people—was one. (Notice the sea motive in our family? And we live in the Midwest!)
Once love captures us, we enthrone writing in various ways. We create space—a desk, a chair, a coffee shop, a car as we wait for kids. We chose tools – computer, favorite pen and paper. We enthrone time—daily schedule, or binge writing. These are like the aroma of a lover, we know we are going to write, we hope we’ll be transported once again.
For some of us, the love of words, each one a magical container of ideas and categories, propels. How lucky we are to write in English as it is the language with the largest vocabulary. Writing allows the opportunity to embrace a first love. Words have magic and the power to build and destroy with the same intensity. We open up the door and an entire world waits… and writing is the key to the door. The new world we invent, the feeling of wonder creating imparts builds a consequential day. We love because we want to love. We love because it is meaningful. It is reward in itself, no reciprocation necessary.