Friday, November 27, 2009

why I write

My thanks to a good friend, Len Hjalmarson, for the cri d'coeur he forwarded to me and which I include below. It is by the American Terry Tempest Williams, a woman who is a writer and a naturalist:

why I write

I write to make peace with the things I cannot control.
I write to create fabric in a world that often appears black and white.
I write to discover. I write to uncover. I write to meet my ghosts. I write to begin a dialogue.
I write to imagine things differently and in imagining things
differently perhaps the world will change.
I write to honor beauty. I write to correspond with my friends.
I write as a daily act of improvisation. I write because it creates my composure.
I write against power and for democracy.
I write myself out of my nightmares and into my dreams.
I write in a solitude born out of community.
I write to the questions that shatter my sleep. I write to the answers that make me complacent.
I write to remember. I write to forget. I write to the music that opens my heart. I write to quell the pain.
I write with the patience of melancholy in winter. I write because it allows me to confront that which I do not know.
I write as an act of faith. I write as an act of slowness.
I write to record what I love in the face of loss. I write because it makes me less fearful of death. I write as an exercise in pure joy.
I write as one who walks on the surface of a frozen river beginning to melt.
I write out of my anger and into my passion.
I write from the stillness of night anticipating — always anticipating.
I write to listen. I write out of silence. I write to soothe the voices shouting inside me, outside me, all around me.
I write because I believe in words.
I write because it is a dance with paradox.
I write because you can play on the page like a child left alone in sand.
I write because it is the way I take long walks.
I write because I believe it can create a path in darkness.
I write with a knife, carving each word from the generosity of trees.
I write as ritual.
I write out of my inconsistencies. I write with the colors of memory.
I write as a witness to what I have seen. I write as witness to what I imagine.
I write by grace and grit.
I write for the love of ideas.
I write for the surprise of a sentence.
I write with the belief of alchemists.
I write knowing I will always fail. I write knowing words always fall short.
I write knowing I can be killed by my own words, stabbed by syntax, crucified by understanding and misunderstanding.
I write past the embarrassment of exposure.
I trust nothing especially myself and slide head first into the familiar abyss of doubt and humiliation and threaten to push the delete button on my way down, or madly erase each line, pick up the paper and rip it into shreds — and then I realize it doesn’t matter, words are always a gamble, words are splinters from cut glass.
I write because it is dangerous, a bloody risk, like love, to form the words, to say the words, to touch the source, to be touched, to reveal how vulnerable we are, how transient.
I write as though I am whispering in the ear of the one I love.

- Terry Tempest Williams

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

some words from jack kerouac

I read On The Road when I was a teen. I read it very quickly, at least as quickly as Jack wrote it (three days). What I remember is the energy and how life came across as intriguing even without the need to resort to big literary moments or plot twists. Even as a 15 or 16 year old, I savoured it page by page.

I offer you today a quote from Jack passed on to me by a friend. It's one of those quotes that you have to share with those you think it might matter to - the ones who have a lust for life, a longing to do far more than survive or exist, the ones who crackle with intensity.

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes "Awww!"

Jack Kerouac