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writing life

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Each day I try to write on this weblog. Usually an event during the day triggers rumination and begs exploration. And always this self-imposed duty, stemming from a small “v” vow to offer up something worthwhile to mostly anonymous readers. In return I learn by reading my own words the next day, or weeks later. The writer is also a reader, the first reader in fact.

Writing doesn’t come easily. The thoughts yes, raw words also–but I have no solid grounding in grammar and syntax, structure and composition. English is not my mother tongue. I rely on intuition and habit; also the feel and the sound, the music emitted by a sentence or paragraph. Seen from this angle, writing reflects life: shoves it under a microscope, projects it on a screen for inspection. “You are writing the stories that have been writing you all your life,” a mentor told me years ago.

“The line of words is a hammer,” writes Annie Dillard.

“You hammer against the the walls of your house. You tap the walls, lightly, everywhere. After giving many years’ attention to these things, you know what to listen for. Some of the walls are bearing walls; they have to stay, or everything will fall down. Other walls can go with impunity; you can hear the difference. Unfortunately, it is often the bearing wall that has to go. It cannot be helped. There is only one solution, which appals you, but there it is. Knock it out. Duck.”

source: Dillard, A. (1989). The writing life. HarperPerennial, p.4.


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