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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Process not Product
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.
Keep writing.
5:14 pm est 

Monday, November 13, 2006

Writing Down the Bones
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?
Keep writing.
12:25 pm est 

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