Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Chapter 2, Writing as a Practice

The woman (Natalie Goldberg) says I should free myself to write the worst crap in the world. So...here's what came hesitantly forth today:

Today was a haphazard day. I drifted through, wondering what would come next, as though I’d never had a routine, as though I were born yesterday. The things I saw all around me seemed distant and bazaar. Uncategorized. That was what I thought life OUGHT to be like once, a long time ago. Uncategorized, unclassified, undiagnosed. I don’t know where the notion came from, but something about social freedom, creativity invited me to it. To the idea, smothered in bedsheets of conformity. Like a sexual epiphany in the midst of reform school ideological jargon. The half- eaten sandwich (I think it was canned Alaskan salmon and mayonnaise. He called it a salad-sandwich, and hewed great slabs of cheddar, stratifying the salad and the great fromage between two slices of “Oven Warm” wheat bread-- The kind with high fructose corn syrup, surreptitiously listed in tiny print on the loaf bag. I ate it, not really understanding the flavors. I ate it, thinking absently about Harriet Jacobs, wondering why she used a pen name, that was so like her real name. Of course anonymity was important, but what if it hadn’t been important? Why choose a name like Linda Brent? But, then—why does anybody choose any name at all to print in a book and christen their prose? Sylvia Plath called herself Victoria Lucas. She wrote things in her journal that I think I’d write. Like, “today was depressing…” No, of course not as mono-something as that. Not so bland and uninteresting. But she wrote about eating pizza and drinking Chianti, as though that’s the sort of thing people do when their clinically depressed. It might be. I think I do nothing but stare at words, until letters look like a smudges on the page, like blots of incoherency, not symbolic interactions, certainly not language. What the hell is language, anyway?


  1. After reading this, I believe I finally understand, at least in part, what my own free-writing books are trying to tell me; that writing without reservations - without the need to self-edit - reveals the true nature and voice of the author. I hear my beloved friend here, and she is writing without pretense, without concern, and it is beautiful *hugs*

  2. Aw, thanks! This makes me happy *hugs*



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