Tuesday, March 2, 2010


"Nothing more horrible, no failure of nerve more acute, than to be a writer and not write, to never write, perhaps, to stop, to decide to stop, not to hope for writing or want it, to let go of writing, to swear it off like drugs or sex with the wrong party, or some other terrible compulsion that finally tears one apart--decimating the room and maiming anyone in the house. The writer not writing is a wholly guilty party..."

"Do writers hate to write? I don't think so. The sense of difficulty arises from the fact that writers defy time, writing words against the erasure of things and lives. We stand in an avalanche of forgetfulness, resisting the sway of disappearance. Faced with mortality, we mourn what we might have understood and communicated, not in opinion or advice but in the delivery of a world we might have saved. Writing, we cross the divide between self and others word by word. In the very act of completing the work, we are separated from it. One way or another, the writer loses writing: the writer loses the book. Opposing oblivion, we begin to understand that language is the way in and the way out."
--Jayne Anne Phillips, "The Widow Speaks" in The Eleventh Draft

I've calmed down. I just grabbed the nearest book and started reading, and I remembered why I started writing and calling myself a writer in the first place.
It doesn't matter what anyone else is doing or how they measure success in their own lives. Life is not a competition. (But I do seriously need to step up my game.)
All that matters is that I wrote today, and I'll write again tomorrow, and the day after that. And I'll keep writing until I accomplish something, and then I'll write some more.
I have a lot of work to do.

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