Learning to Write, Part 3Posted: November 10, 2009
>My friend Jane over at Leaf-Stitch-Word tagged me in this meme she created. She asks us to look for three essential markers, practices, or maybe habits. She asks, “What can you tell me about your twisted paths to becoming a writer?” I’m going to take this in three posts. Thanks, Jane!
Part Three: Since Always
This meme has been really difficult. My instinct is to say, at this point, in trying to chart my path toward being a writer, something like: “It’s just who I am.” I don’t ever remember doing anything else that was as satisfying.
In The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion writes that she believes that “…meaning itself [is] resident in the rhythms of words and sentences.” She is writing about meaning in the large sense–capital M, big ideas, Meaning Of Life. When I read this, on the 6 Train underneath Lexington Avenue, I wanted to blast off into the sky, exploding off the ground like Neo does at the end of The Matrix, having finally understood that he is infinitely powerful, unbeatable. Nothing–absolutely nothing–feels more right to me than a string of words that say what you have been feeling all along.
I love reading because it is singular–not like other performing arts where the experience is collective. The intimacy of a book is different than the intimacy of a concert, or a well-made play. The experience is, I think, a more direct line to the reader’s emotions and sense of space, self and emotion. It’s an entirely cerebral immersion. I’m not trying to say that it’s the best way to experience a work of art–I’m just saying it’s my personal favorite.