Date: 2010.02.23 | Category: Imagining Love, The Art of Writing | Tags:



    Why do we write?  Or, if you’re thinking about writing, what blessings may blossom from your words? (I like to think of flowers this time of year.  I received a gift of rose s on Valentine’s Day.  They are now wilted and need to be discarded.  My colleague, though, has pastel tulips in her office where I can occasionally see them, and utter, ahhhhhhhhh.  This is Minnesota and the prospect of spring is certainly on my mind.)

    How can we conjure the prospect of mysterious and perhaps magical happenstance (sometimes I use words I don’t know out of spite for the time someone shamed me for using a particular word wrong, in hopes I might be right this time) because we are writers?  For me, writing has brought me family, and friends, and a whole lot of lovin’—okay, I’m still “Imagining Love”—the lover and the lovin’ not yet a combo, but love is in the air (funny how many clichés are associated with spring).

    I’m struggling here to get started.  Sometimes a writer has to write a whole lot of pages before clarity rears its beautiful face.  As I ramble along before I get to the aha! you will understand what I mean by this.  There’s so much I want to say right now.  I want to talk about the recent workshop I taught with Lori, but I also want to talk about a relative I didn’t know I had, who found me by Googling me, having gotten my name from her mother, who happened to have my first chap book, A LITTLE MIXED UP, published by Guild Press in the early 80’s.  (Another aside, did you know many of those little chap books published just a couple of decades ago, can be found online for big bucks! ?  Amazing!  And wonderful.  All those out of print works of art, rediscovered and sold online by speculators. )

    I want to talk about beyond writing, if that makes any sense.  I earned an MFA in Creative Writing just to prove I was smart enough to get an education.  I was, though it was hard work because I didn’t really have the education I needed to continue to advance my education.  In other words, I was brought up in a family of five, on welfare and silence (more than I want to get into here).  I didn’t understand about class or race or gender when I was growing up, but looking back I know how much all of that stuff played a part in who I am today.  Not only did I not know how to eat steak, so the first time a date took me out for a steak dinner, part of the steak went flying as I tried to manipulate it with my knife and fork, but I didn’t know words, or the few I did know I didn’t know how to manipulate them to show I was from a different “class” than I was, but even if I had, can you really upgrade from the class you were born in (another discussion entirely).

    I believe everyone should write and can.  And I believe writing should be shared.  Sharing is easy today in today’s world of the internet:  social networks, Google, Web sites, instant messaging, etc. (I say etc. because truly I am not Web savvy and it may be another lifetime before I have any desire to be a computer geek).  But first, before the internet, I started sharing my work in small group writing workshops.  This built small communities of writers.  Each of us writers belonged to other communities.  Friendships and networking happened.  Eventually I taught my own workshops.  Friendships and networking happened.  My first workshop was taught in my neighborhood coffee shop.  No students had enrolled, so I became super salesperson before I became teacher.  The class eventually consisted of a husband, close friends, and others I had never met.  Of those participants, I am still in contact with several of them, even the husband who became an ex-husband (not  an ex because of the workshop).  I became mentor to a couple of the participants.  Lori was one of the participants who I reconnected with a few years after the workshop . We now collaborate, performing our work and teaching.  What I’m trying to say here is that writing is more than (okay can be more than) writing.

    Because I have been writing since the early 80’s and have had some poems published here and there, I have a Web site and I have this blog site and I’m on other sites and sometimes there may be an announcement or a book review here or there that lands on the internet.    I’m saying, you can Google me (I certainly have) and if you want to connect with me in cyber space, you probably can.  In fact, because of the internet a cousin found me, and recently a second cousin who lives in Texas found me because of my first little chapbook, and Googling my name on the internet.  This is what I’m trying to say.  I don’t confess to being the best writer in the world, my last royalty check was in the negative (that will change as soon as I retire and have time to market my books, really Victor, I promise). But,  I write about identity because there is no one in the world like me, just as there is no one in the world like you.  We have our own identity, our own stories.  And guess what, if we take the process of writing beyond the process of writing and enter the process of after the writing someone might notice.  Someone might notice (don’t hold your breath for million dollar book deal or a world book tour), but someone might notice you , who may be a long lost relative, or just someone interested in your writing,  or interested in writing in general–and that someone may become part of your life for awhile or for a lifetime.  That’s the aha! (Or they may want to hire you to be a writing mentor, or may want to subscribe to your blog, or they may want to register for one of your workshops.)

    I write on my lunch hour, sometimes, like now.  I don’t have time to re-vision or revise (I do take time for a quick run through for typos, though I still might not catch them all, no apologies).  But, that’s okay.  You get a chance to witness a rough draft, lol (laugh out loud, I thought this meant lots of love and couldn’t figure out why a particular person sent me lol) and I get to send another something into the cyber world and hope that somehow somewhere my writing makes connections for me or for you.

    Lori and I recently taught a writing workshop for women about women.  We hope to teach it in Mankato, MN this spring.  This workshop was for writers and nonwriters alike.  We honored the women or a particular woman in our lives.  We honored grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and friends.  We viewed maps, and photographs, and journals and other things to help conjure the women we wanted to write about, even those we didn’t’ know we wanted to write about. Connections were made. 

    It’s about the writing, but it’s also about beyond the writing—after the writing.

    Feel free to leave comments about your experiences with “after the writing.”