Late night fantasies. Those are always the best. Why is my mind so full of clarity? Or is it hazy and these thoughts are sleep-deprived delusions? It’s a trail of thoughts that run so far and so clear. No distractions. When the world around me sleeps, my brain urges me to write. The electronics beside me try to tempt me, but you always win. How can I make sure you win every day? Not just when the clarity of creativity strikes? Carry you with me? Not let my mind drift? I must. I must. I must. I will.
I find myself jealous of musicians and singers who perform for audiences. Those who from a distance don’t seem so filled with solitude. The solitude of a writer. I live in inside my head. It’s a place of sheer loneliness. All of these thoughts that are in my head yet are never shared in sounds. Instead, they are shared with an inanimate object. If I didn’t where would the writing come from?
It’s a craft I love so deeply, yet hurt from all at once. I find myself lost in thought even with others around. How to frame a sentence? What would I write on any given topic? Or how would I edit a piece of writing? There is never a moment I’m not thinking of words. There are those who will not understand this. This only builds on that solitude. How can you do this for pleasure? Isn’t it work?
It’s gut wrenching. Sometimes it’s as if my soul is the one being leaked onto the pages, not ink. But therein lies the beauty of it all. Whether people understand or not – it’s still there. That need is still there, and I thank God that it is. In all it’s solitude. I love it in every way possible, and I don’t want to think about life otherwise.
We don’t need anymore writers as solitary heroes. We need a heroic writers’ movement: assertive, militant, pugnacious.
– Toni Morrison
“In this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don’t love your eyes; they’d just as soon pick em out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it. And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face ’cause they don’t love that either. You got to love it, you! And no, they ain’t in love with your mouth. Yonder, out there, they will see it broken and break it again. What you say out of it they will not heed. What you scream from it they do not hear. What you put into it to nourish your body they will snatch away and give you leavins instead. No, they don’t love your mouth. You got to love it. This is flesh I’m talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved. Feet that need to rest and to dance; backs that need support; shoulders that need arms, strong arms I’m telling you. And O my people, out yonder, hear me, they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up. and all your inside parts that they’d just as soon slop for hogs, you got to love them. The dark, dark liver–love it, love it and the beat and beating heart, love that too. More than eyes or feet. More than lungs that have yet to draw free air. More than your life-holding womb and your life-giving private parts, hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize.”
― Toni Morrison
Writers imagine that they cull stories from the world. I’m beginning to believe that vanity makes them think so. That it’s actually the other way around. Stories cull writers from the world. Stories reveal themselves to us. The public narrative, the private narrative – they colonize us. They commission us. They insist on being told. Fiction and nonfiction are only different techniques of story telling. For reasons that I don’t fully understand, fiction dances out of me, and nonfiction is wrenched out by the aching, broken world I wake up to every morning.”
― Arundhati Roy
The only reason we write—well, the only reason why I write; maybe I shouldn’t generalize—is so that I can find out something about myself. Writers have this narcissistic obsession about how we got to be who we are. I have to understand my ancestors—my father, his mother and her mother—to understand who I am. It all leads back to the narcissistic pleasure of discovering yourself. In writing this book, I have to do a lot of deep meditation into stories I couldn’t possibly know, that I have to go back and invent. It’s like an archaeologist discovering little scraps of preserved fabric, and you have to re-create what they were wearing by looking in a microscope at little fibers.
– Sandra Cisneros
“Writing is both an act of power and surrender. Passion and discovery. It is a tug at your soul that continues to pull you forward, even as you go kicking and screaming.”
– Laraine Herring