i was just lent a book yesterday, "writing down the bones"...freeing the writer within
sort a zen manual for losing yourself in your own mind, writing as a spiritual practice, or at the very least, a practice.
the author poses the question, "why do i write?"
hmmm...i woke at 6:30am after being up til 1am and i couldn't wait to write. or, to be more descriptive, my mind started whirring with thoughts, and bleeding them onto the page seemed the most cathartic thing to do, kinda like the medieval doctoring of using leeches to suck out bad blood. i've got so much inside me. and writing terrifies me. the exposure excites and frightens me. i guess i write because i'm an exhibitionist. like a flasher in a trench coat walking down the anonymous streets, waiting to open his coat, to shock, stun, embarrass and maybe turn someone else on. i woke up at 6:30am thinking i needed to delete some of the things i had written yesterday. in what drunken madness did i write those things for other people to see? what if my family saw? i am an embarrassment. a shameless woman. and i secretly smile to myself. yes, so what? do you still love me now?
i write because i grew up without a tv, and there were times books were my only friends. i write because during my parents divorce, i would tune out the yelling and go close the door to my room and travel to faraway lands, to england, to be lizzie in the pride and the predjudice. i write because i love the smell of books and because i have always felt it is the most important thing i could do in my life, the greatest mark of success to be published. to be remembered. to be cherished and held in little rectangular tombs.
i write because it is taboo. there is a scene in a movie where a woman has just cheated on her husband. she is riding the train home from her lovers apartment to make dinner for her family. she goes to the bathroom and locks the door. she looks at herself in the mirror. she smiles to see who she is, who she looks like freshly fucked. and she pulls her panties out of her purse to put them back on. she sees herself in the mirror again. she looks sad. then in the secret of the bathroom she smells her own panties, smelling of her animal scent and desire, of hormones and pheromones. she looks at her reflection again and could eat the the world with the look in her eyes. i write because i am fascinated by how many faces i have. and i read the words i have written again and again, to try to know who i am. to smell my own scent. to see myself in the mirror. it has taken me many years to be this blunt and honest.
i write because i am obsessive compulsive. crazy. crazy? isn't crazy purely subjective? if i manage to wrestle from the dumb, mute clay of my mind onto the page something of lasting beauty, something that touches anothers soul, then it will not be crazy, it will be art.
i push my raft further out to see (sea). i hang my bare ass on the line. i let confusion overtake me. who am i? where am i? i look out the window to get my bearings. yes, there are trees. there is a whole, solid, beautiful world that exists whether i write about it or not. that existed before i lived and will exist after i die. and i tear myself to beautiful little pieces and pick them apart. pull my guts out and wade through them knee-deep, like apocolypse now, not always sure i will make it out alive from this crazy, inbred jungle.
it is easy to get lost. to get stuck in the mud of memory and the sweet siren of depression. i write because i want someone to understand my pain and my glory. in the bright, hot, momentary comet of my life blazing through the eternal sky, i want to be witnessed. i want to be accepted and loved. or at least to be seen. naked and unashamed. do you still love me now?
"i write because to form a word with your lips and tongue or to think a thing and then dare to write it down so you can never take it back is the most powerful thing i know."
i write because i ache, and this aching is so tremendously big it cannot fit all inside my tiny body. this aching is a terrible, crying, thunder love. for my heartbreak, for all i have ever wanted, for the love of my parents i may never feel the way i hope. i write to make sense of my father, i write because i am tired and disappointed with my mother. i write because i am afraid i am a bad mother. i write because despite all this, i find great pleasure in life and in my body. i think life is a confusing miracle and i throw my words out into the unknown universe like confetti. god, do you hear me? do you hear that every word i write is a prayer? do you love me now, god?
recording my life. not only am i writing a book, a documentary is being filmed about my experiences. we went back to the cabin i grew up in, and the director asked me to walk around and show the cabins, the land, to give a tour of the hobbitville i grew up in. and i looked out the window to the porch, to the trees, probably the same trees that were there when i was a little girl, and i am filled with sadness. if the tree is so beautiful, if the sun is shining, how can i be filled with so much sadness? am i broken? is the world broken? how can there be so much pain? and i curled up on the bench below the window and was mute. the director and camera woman were standing waiting for me. and i was curling into a ball, curling into myself. this should be a private moment, but people are watching me. and i don't care. and i start to weep. old, deep, sad tears. each tear cutting into my hot cheek with it's cooling rain. and i feel the back of my heart aching. and i feel the tears sliding down my cheeks. and i am being filmed. and it feels. right. because how can so much feeling, so much pain be inside me, and be only about me? it is bigger than me. my life is bigger than me and i want to share it. there is something satisfying and purposeful in being filmed, in being recorded. i am not alone. this big life moves through me. it is many people's story.
i write because i can't stop myself. i am a clock unwinding my own time.