the danish outpost
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writer? or not?

05.09.2001

feeling kinda how a girl feels

it's been interesting that journalling has moved me away from another important online community. i do miss the community there; some very good friendships came out of that experience. but we all go thru phases, we all get to points where we've given as much as we can in one place and aren't getting enough back. that's the time when you move on to the next adventure. for me, it's been journalling.

part of the journalling adventure has been pushing myself to write. a lot. and not the same thing all the time, either. yes, a lot of times i write about how my day has gone (or not gone). sometimes that's enough. but it's nice to try out other ideas, other styles. does that make me a writer? i'll leave that up to you to decide.

sometimes it's been as simple as the occasional book review. trying to articulate why a book hits home for me is more interesting than just saying 'it's good! go read it!', interesting for me and hopefully for you as well. and i'm still pretty happy with the twist i gave to observations on feeling sick. there's a nice rhythm to that piece. there's also this snippet that i wrote about my parents.

i swung gently in the hammock in the dark, trying to absorb the sounds of the wind in the trees and the crickets, trying to soak in the images of the light spilling out the front window, the tall oak on the far side of the house rattling in the breeze, what the place looks and smells and sounds like at night. i came home so many times to the old house that i never gave it a second thought. with this house, i don't have any of those memories. so i lay there, in the hammock, concentrating fiercely on building new memories, and feeling the salt tang of the breeze brush my face.

other times, i've tried forms that aren't as comfortable. poetry, for example. while i like writing poetry, it often comes out sounding clunkier on paper than it does in my head. Tempo is one of the few that i'm truly satisfied with. others, like this, have an emotional importance to me. i dug it out of an old blue notebook that i've hung on to since college. (you do the math. it's a long time.) 'my lover has taught me to peel oranges.' a true statement, and another fragment from the same notebook. some poems, i think, are less successful, like Across the Water, which i'm tempted to go back and tinker with.

fiction is another one. i'd love to find a fictional voice that works. i suppose it's important to find a topic that rings true as well. :) and it's happened, once or three times this past year. the one single piece i'm most proud of is The Memory She Wants Most. it took several weeks of muddling about, and a few days of writing to craft that one. i go back and reread it every so often, to remind myself that it is possible to write well. Salt and Pepper isn't as complete, but it's still an interesting story (in my humble opinion *g*). and of course, there's the ever popular Honey in the Morning, which has gotten me a fair amount of positive feedback. one of my readers wanted to be able to vote it a 'readers' favorite'.

all of this, trying to stretch and be a better writer, is one of the reasons i joined some collabs. it's certainly motivating to read what the other writers out there do with the same idea. i try not to read their entries until i've got mine done, because i don't want to accidentally steal anything. it would never be intentional, of course. but words have a way of creeping into your brain, and you don't always remember where they came from.

i got some lovely comments about Information wants to be free, which was sort of a free form brain dump about how we deal with facts. here's a snippet from another piece that i did for Jaunt:

i think of being up north, one afternoon. i was standing by the sliding glass door, back to the room, staring out at the mountains. i forget, living in the city, how green things can be. i stood there for a long time, drinking in all the shades of green to be found, and wondering why i felt sad and contrary. when he came up behind me to put a hand on my shoulder, i would gladly have turned into a bird, a dream, a cloud, and flown right out that window. but i didn't. i turned around, and stayed, and held him accountable for taking all that lush green away from me.

so. writer, or not? i'd like to think so. it's certainly how i've started thinking of myself. but i know there's a lot more i can learn - a lot. i try not to get too worked up about falling behind, and being uninspired. i try to find a new way to look at old ideas. i struggle, sometimes, looking for ways to address some topics. but at least i'm still trying. the only way you stop learning is if you stop trying. and when you stop learning, you're dead. i don't want to be dead. which means, i guess, i keep trying, and writing.

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