Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Process not Product
5:14 pm est
William Styron declined to call himself an author, though he published many books. He said he didn't think in terms of
having a career...he said "I have a typewriter." Styron was engaged in the process of writing without having to identify himself
with the product of the process itself. The writing process was what was important for Styron.
Neil Simon just recently was given the "Mark Twain" award and recognition at the Kennedy Center for his many contributions
through the writing of plays, screenplays and fiction. Clearly what interests Simon is the human situation and condition
rather than his own identification as an author. Simon is interested and engaged in witnessing and exploring his
fellow humans through the process of writing.
Writing cannot be a goal in and of itself. The practice of writing can be a goal. But one must harness one's interest
in the writing process and allow it to lead one toward the issues and ideas as well as the conditions which emerge and engage
one through it. Writing is most significantly a process, not a product.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Writing Down the Bones
12:25 pm est
Natalie Goldberg's well-known books encourage writers to grapple with the challenges faced by those who want to write.
As a Buddhist practitioner Goldberg is one who strives to demonstrate her practice through writing about the writing process
itself. Her Writing Down the Bones and Thunder and Lightening challenge and encourage would-be
writers to take the process and writing practice seriously.
Writing challenges one to face issues and ideas or concerns we may generally neglect or "shy away" from too
easily...through the writing process, uncomfortable feelings and forces may come forward to address us when we write,
particularly when we write fiction and/or poetry. We sometimes do not know "where we are" with regard to certain feelings
and issues untill and unless we begin to write about them. Writing at this deep level holds up a mirror to our neglected
truths and realities if we genuinely have to courage to look into that mirror and work through them regardless of the surprises,
shocks or confrontations they present.
Writing works on one at as deep a level to which we are willing or not willing to go. Writing dares you to look
deeper into a situation, or a person, a character or a reality you otherwise may successfully avoid...writing creates danger
and possibility and risk and we avoid writing at the peril of our own growth and development as well as our own self-understanding
and knowledge. The courage to write...do you have it?
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