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Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Writer is Born - Start Here

            Start here – an empty bowl, a canvas, a mound of clay, a blank page.
            Add one part desire and two parts inexplicable necessity to express your innermost thoughts, your subconsciously inspired, and often sacred, visions via the written word. 
            Stir carefully. 
            Add a dash of creativity, patience, dedication, and aspiration.  The mixture may be lumpy.  If so, add a dash of persistence, and adjust patience as needed.  If lumps still exist, carefully remove the darlings – you probably don’t need them anyway.
            Mix well. 
            Fold in a lifetime of experiences, ideas, and dreams.  They may seem small and perhaps individually insignificant, but they will grow to unimaginable heights of aesthetic and linguistic beauty when kneaded, molded, and given proper time to rise. 
            Cover and set aside.
            When enough time has passed to allow for objective appreciation, carefully observe.  Look deep within your creation.  Identify its beauty.  Nurture its weaknesses.  Fill its lifeless gaps.  Weave plot and drama, and emotion throughout.  Leave it in its most naked, most glorious and exposed and endearing state.  Then watch as it bakes, filling the air with the aroma of success and completion.  Glory at the sweetness; the flower of contentment and satisfaction equaled not even by that of the rose.  When visually golden and linguistically clear, remove it from the heat.
            Let it rest.

            Baking, painting, molding, writing.  The artists’ outlets can take on many forms.  It’s a passion.  A curious and demanding need to express the demons and angels that live somewhere between our subconscious selves and the medium of our choice.  What will they create today?  What will I create today?  Tomorrow?
            When this journey with pen and paper, keyboard and screen began, it appeared as a seed.  One simple seed placed somewhere within the depths of my mind.  Sometimes rattling, sometimes lolling, or rolling from space to space searching for the right place to be embed, to extend roots and grow.  Many times, it failed.  And many times it tried again.  Until finally, after many years of relentless determination, it took hold and flourished.  At first I didn’t notice.  I couldn’t believe that something so limitless could exist in a mind so simplistic.  Someone had to show me.  Someone had to open my eyes to see the light that it needed to grow, the light that I needed to grow.  I noticed, and I cultivated.  Keeping it healthy has been a challenge.  Much like the maintenance of a philodendron, regular attention is essential to keep the writing alive; to keep it growing, sprouting new petioles and unfolding new leaves.  Though agonizing, at times it is inevitable that a piece of it die to be born again at another time or in another piece.  This process of nurturing the life of a page, a chapter, poem, or novel has been enchanting.  It has drawn me into its arms, caressed my words with green tipped thumbs, and watered my imagination.
            This plant, this infiltrating mass has consumed a part of me and I will never be free.  Nor do I want to be.  Collections, essays, drafts, and debris have all been gathered.  Some destined for dissemination into the minds of many, some amassed into boxes to be ground into the flour of another existence.  A circle.  One life feeding another, and fueling an infinite existence through biology and ink.  Pines, wheat, berries – pulp, flour, dye – paper, bread, life.  All existing to co-exist.  All dependent one upon another for survival, and to complete the circle that is science and art, life and death.
            The fruits of this effort have been many.  Harvested at just the right time, they have become the elements needed to produce a more complete artist, a writer.  While I may never truly feel that the title is appropriately bestowed, it is, nonetheless, fact.  I must write.  I do write.  Therefore, I am a writer.  Perhaps never an author, perhaps never a poet, but a writer, nonetheless.  The seed has been sown, the flowers spent, and the bounty reaped. 
            Looking forward, this journey must continue on its simple path.  This is not a difficult task.  A quite simple one really.  Write.  Every day.  Gibberish, nonsensical ramblings, words that flow from the pen as water tumbling, splashing, gushing over cliffs, pooling at my feet, and washing me clean of the pages of the past and leaving me washed in color with a fresh pallet.  A novel without words, pottery lacking form, brushes absent of paint, or an empty wooden bowl.  The process begins again.
            Start here.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Chapter 2013: Page 1 of 365

Day 1:  Milk, coconut milk, eggs, bacon, dog food, dog bones, cereal, Febreeze...

Day 2:  AAUP Faculty Compensation Survey, AICUP Financial Analysis and Trends, IPEDS Winter Collection, Peterson's, Wintergreen Orchard House, MSCHE Institutional Profile, Early Withdrawal, Freshman and Exit Surveys, Residence Life, Alumni, Graduation...

Day 3:  Today, I'll write...  Emails qualify, right?  After all, we had two weeks off and there were a lot to respond to.

Day 4:  Hmmm...

At the start of the new year, a couple of my writer friends posted inspirational and motivational thoughts on their Facebook pages regarding their New Year's resolutions and their intentions toward writing.  Of course, I immediately jumped on the train, and thought, "What a great idea."  One post was quite simple in its complexity, "Chapter 2013; page 1 of 365," to which I responded, "Note to self:  write something everyday."  A simple task.  No parameters, no deadlines, no word counts, or purpose, or intent.  Just write something everyday.  Technically, I guess I could say that I did accomplish my goal on days 1 through 3 - if you consider my grocery list, to-do list, and a few e-mails; however, I'm not at all certain that that was the type of writing intended either by the initial creator or myself.  So, now what?

I've created writing schedules in the past.  Anxious, exhilarated, and determined, I aggressively set out to write thousand's of words a day.  Daily, unfortunately, quickly turned to every other day, which turned to weekly, then bi-weekly, and slowly crept toward monthly with a stint of quarterly thrown in for good measure.  And now, I face a near empty page yet again, and so it begins.  I can't change the past - wouldn't it be great in some circumstances if I could - but today, today I'll write!