not losing; not remaining lost (writing back into the world)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

For many of us, these are difficult days. The news is a barrage, and we spin. Fingers in dikes. Calls to friends. Writers Resists. Private little sit downs. On what do we focus? And how?

Last year was a strange time for me in many ways. I'd trusted what had not earned my trust. I'd relinquished momentum, and hope. Between the personal and the political, I felt the world seize up, and it remained seized up for far too long.

One can remain lost, or one can fight to regain one's footing. In swelling uncertainty, I turned at last to books—reading into the stacks that had accumulated around this house (a reading binge that I wrote of here). I turned, too, to the class I teach at Penn (memoir) and to two semester-long student projects on short fiction; one must prepare, one must read deeply, one must sit and helpfully (peaceably) think. Finally, then, I returned to writing, something I had to remember how to do. It's always like that, with writing and me. I have to remember how it gets done.

I rewrote a novel, word by word, and it is so much better than it was. I reconfigured a long-standing project and began to talk with an editor about its shape. I condensed a book I'd been writing into an essay I sold. I returned to a second, fledgling novel and wrote it through in a mad three AM daze. Wrote that book inspired by someone, for someone, with an abiding sense of purpose.Wrote it, and it made me happy; it was (again) a form of peace.

We can't control so much of our lives, but we can shape, at least in part, how we spend our time, our love, our thoughts. We can hold onto the negative, or we can burst through—shaping stories, giving stories, building communities. We achieve little when we stay inside the darkness. We live when we don't remain lost. Focused within ourselves, we can then focus on the news and decide just what we'll do, who we'll be, how we will manage the barrage.


Serena said...

Sage advice as always

Mad City Jess said...

Yes, yes, and yes. Thank you, Beth.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper II by 2008

Back to TOP