Wednesday, April 26, 2006
This Thing In Me
Currently, I'm reading The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Contemplating the death of her husband, Didion mentions his habit of carrying little index cards with him wherever he went. A writer, her husband John Dunne carried the cards with him so he could make notes when an idea or thought came to him that he might use in the future. It occurred to me that I haven't fully accepted myself as a writer. I would never pull a card out of my pocket in front of friends and do such a thing. I've carried notebooks - but even then - having them with me was more like wearing a headband. It made me stand out - when all I wanted to do was blend in. I realize now, that I have always fought the writer in me. Always stifled the words. Kept the ideas at bay. Afraid of what it all meant. Writers are special people. They learn everything there is to know about words. Structure, meaning...how to get the most effect...be dramatic. But they don't learn how to deal with the emotion. Break a writer's heart - and they'll get a novel out of it...but by the sequel - the heart is still broken. A writer who is alone - might master the art of observation - but never the art of immersion. I'm afraid that with every passing day, I'm realizing just how lost I am. I've started carrying index cards in my pocket.