Friday, June 14, 2013

journey into the unknown

Writers do not write to impart knowledge to others; rather, they write to inform themselves.

--Judith Guest, from the foreword to Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.

When you write, you lay out a line of words. The line of words is a miner's pick, a wood-carver's gouge, a surgeon's probe. You wield it, and it digs a path you follow. Soon you find yourself deep in new territory.

You make the path boldly and follow it fearfully. You go where the path leads.

The writing has changed, in your hands, and in a twinkling, from an expression of your notions to an epistemological tool. The new place interests you because it is not clear. You attend.

--Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

As I read these words, I realize that writing is most interesting to me when it is an investigation, a search, an attempt to explain something or to find the truth.

It is truly amazing that in the process of laying down words on a page, gradually you find yourself making progress, you get somewhere you couldn't get by simply thinking, which tends to go in circles, wrapping around points of frustration or trailing off into dead end side tracks.

In each moment, write the truth you are sensing. Each moment recorded is a step. The best you can do is follow your nose. You are almost blind, but not quite.

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