The sweaty, weepy work of a writer

The writer’s life is said to be lonely. Isolating. Somewhat intrepid. Alone with your thoughts and the voices in your head, shouting to be heard. Recorded. Eternalized.

While I have had my share of loneliness throughout my career, I have discovered over the years that my best writing does not originate from sitting for hours at my desk. It is a process of gestation that requires input from multiple sources.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Fore / Unsplash

To be a writer is to be a reader. To be a sorceress of information. To glean from the marrow of people’s speaking. To listen closely to that which is not said, but is felt beneath the comfort of our skin. To interpret the world so that it applies outside ourselves. To chain words together to create waves in the hearts of those not yet shaken.

I often look to the woods for the flavor of spirit I alone cannot conjure. Nature – that wordless world — feeds the place deep within us in ways nothing else can. Even a glance at a panting puppy led on a leash on a hot summer’s day can place me back into real time. The here. The now. The only thing we have. And from that space I access that certain something that moves my brain in ways I cannot describe. It ignites a thought that needs to be followed to its end. A sudden burst of ideas pour through that crevice, pulling me toward my desk. Or if in an inconvenient location, to my pen and paper. It must be born, just as a baby demands. It will not relent until I midwife the notion into being.

It is a sweaty, emotional process, like childbirth itself. And when I weep at the end of my lines, I know I have found the heartbeat of the work that yearned to be seen.

It is a humbling process indeed.

It is my oxygen.

It is my life.

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