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November 2014

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Writing and life


Sometimes writing means transforming the stuff of life into art. Distilling experience, crystallizing it so that readers recognize it instantly and say, "Yes, that's what life is like."

Often writing means pausing from life, retiring behind a closed door, to make sense of everything that has happened, to digest it.

Sometimes the stuff of life is so immediate, urgent, and troubling--or so thrilling and absorbing--that we can't write. We're too preoccupied with living.

Sometimes we break away from our writing desks to make sure we don't miss life.

Sometimes we live with a mental keyboard in our heads, recording notes. Sometimes in this way, we capture a part of life that we would otherwise forget. Sometimes we write down those notes to fix them more permanently.

Sometimes the writing desk is a solace, an escape from tedium or pain in daily life.

Sometimes writing is a celebration. Sometimes it's a way to process painful truths.

Writing is a life examined, which is supposed to be a life worth living. But a life can't be spent only writing.

Sometimes we put down writing for a while. Sometimes it refuses to be put down.




Comments

Cool.
Thank you!
And sometimes we put writing aside and take time to read wonderful posts :)

Nicely said, Jenn.
Thanks very much!
You just posted what I've been feeling this hole week!
I think you're one of the people who started me thinking about this! :-)
I'm glad I helped to this great post!

And sometimes . . .

Writers just need to to take a chocolate eating blog reading break from their writing—which is what I'm doing now.

Nice post, thanks!

Best,
Mimi

Re: And sometimes . . .

Thanks, Mimi, and enjoy the chocolate! :-)
wise words. wise words.
I hope so! Thank you.
Writing LJ posts can sometimes be tedious. Sometime readers appreciate the fruits of that tediousity.
It's funny, I don't find blogging tedious at all. But it's very nice if my readers agree. :-)
Lovely
Thank you!
This is beautiful - it almost feels like a prose poem. Something about it makes me want to read it aloud. Thank you.
Thank you! I didn't originally intend that stanza-like effect, but it happened naturally.
I loved this post, Jenn. You helped lift the guilt I've been feeling lately, toward my writing, and toward my real life.
It's always tricky, and none of us do it perfectly. But we keep trying. The good news is that if you're having these issues, it's because you're living a very full life. :-)
"Sometimes we put down writing for a while. Sometimes it refuses to be put down."

This summarizes my writing life so far. I like it!
Thank you!
Yes, all of that is true.
Thank you!

(Anonymous)

Sometimes we live with a mental keyboard in our heads, recording notes.

Precisely. This was a wonderful piece, exact and beautiful.

--Lady Jane

http://www.ladyjanesbook.wordpress.com
Thank you. I appreciate your thoughtful comment!

(Anonymous)

comment

Child:
Isn't writing an "escape" from life into the life we would like to lead?
All the best, Macabee

Re: comment

Often, yes.
But sometimes--as in the case of the memoir of a difficult time, or a problem novel--it can be driven by an urge to bear witness, or to help others (and one's self) avoid living a certain kind of life.