Litera Scripta Manet
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
In red weather
Wallace Stevens, Disillusionment at Ten O'clock
When I was a little kid, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I didn't have a clear sense of what that really meant, but I did write all the time. As I grew older, life became more interesting and more complicated and somehow this dream slipped away. I continued to write, though not as consistently
In my twenties, I worked and lived and loved. All very conducive to gathering material about which to write but not so good at helping you actually put pen to paper. I think also all the bullshit I had to write in college really made it seem like a big chore. It wasn't until my mid twenties that I started feeling like writing again and years after that still when I really started to enjoy it.
The trick was to find out what I like to write: action and efficiency. Now that I've found that, building the other good stuff around that, the stuff so necessary to deliver the action, is much easier and even interesting. I have found that I can write the stuff that I like consistently and productively. I consider myself lucky. Whether it's any good, others will have to judge.
As far as editing, well, in that area I still have some work to do...
When I lived in Oakland, I met these two kids from the block. They were in 3rd or 4th grade and somehow found me out and would come drag me out of my garage apartment and make me play with them. One of them, Melvyn, I got to know a little better. He lived inconsistently with his mother and looked to be headed down an unfortunate road. He was so sweet, but you could already see the dark clouds of poverty and a shattered family hovering over him. One day when we were drawing with chalk on the sidewalk, he expounded on how much he loved drawing. He suddenly stood up and spread his arms wide, the thick yellow chalk in his hands. "I can draw the whole world!" he said with so much joy.
That is why I write.
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