Sunday, May 05, 2013

Sunday Essay - why I write

I woke very early and then went for a long walk to clear my head. I do this several times a week, nearly always the same route, up Gardeners Road to the roundabout and then down Anzac Parade. I am getting to understand the early morning patterns before they are replaced by the normal daily routine. Next time, I will take my camera and see if can get some photos to share with you.

My thoughts this morning were disconnected, linked only by some common connection to writing. I have been suffering from something approaching writer's block, as well as conflict over time and priorities. It's actually been quite difficult. Still, in all this, one of the things that makes me just so grateful is the feedback I get.

In a private Facebook message, a friend wrote: "I have no idea how you manage to juggle so much knowledge across so many interests, all with grace, exquisite humor and cogent writing."  Another friend wrote:

Sorry to hear that your struggling with writing your next piece, but I'm sure you'll get there. Hope you become reinspired! Fingers crossed : )

By the way, thanks for keeping me inspired! I don't think I would be as excited or this motivated to learn about my people, myself, and most importantly be responsible for revitalising such an integral part of my culture and passing it on.

By it's nature, so much of what I do is isolated and can be isolating. I share a little, but it can be hard to explain what I do, why I do it and the joy I sometimes get from it, as well as the frustration that can result.

Some people write because they must write. Their focus is on their writing, on the art of writing and, often, on their need to explore, understand and explain their personal world in all its confusions. That's true for me too, but basically I write for people. Most of my pieces are written with a specific audience in mind, sometimes just one person. In my mind, I am talking to that person. They are there in front of me as I write. It is our conversation.

I am, I suppose, still something of a reformer, a campaigner. I want my writing to have an effect. Most times, this doesn't happen, or at least nothing that can be measured. But then, sometimes it does. The effect may not be large, but it is clear. Then I smile. I am inspired to go on, to try something new. 

In writing, I draw constantly from my fellow writers and especially my fellow bloggers.

Wikipedia, where would we be without it?, defines a salon in this way:

A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, "either to please or to educate" ("aut delectare aut prodesse est"). Salons, commonly associated with French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries, were carried on until quite recently in urban settings.

I don't go to writers' events or to the functions or festivals put on by various writers' centres, although perhaps I should, for I am totally outside what I perceive to be the writing mainstream. After all, it's only quite recently that I have defined myself as a writer. Before that, I would have thought of that classification as simply presumptuous!

  To me, the internet has become my salon and, what's more, an open egalitarian one. The French or English salons were always a bit precious, elitist. The internet is different, for in the kaleidoscopic exchange of views there is constant inspiration, constant refreshment. I rely on that very heavily. Let me give you an example.

Go to Denis Wright's My two daughters. When I read Sylvia's message to her dad, I was reduced to tears. I have two daughters. They are very different women, but both are wonderful. As I read Sylvia's letter to her dad, Denis is dying from a brain tumour, I thought that''s what it's all about.

Who would have thought when I really began writing, just how much joy I would get from it? Who would have thought that I would meet new friends from around the world? Who would have thought that I would end up knowing dozens of fellow writers, some very successful? Who would have thought that I might bring a measure of joy and inspiration to at least a few?

That's what it's all about. That's why I write.   


Legal Eagle said...

What a beautiful post, Jim.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thank you, LE. Greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I am getting to understand the early morning patterns before they are replaced by the normal daily routine.

This will never do, Jim - you need to Gatsby it up a bit! Now, in discussion with Neil, I've reworked this rather dull (admittedly to the point) sentence of yours to give it a bit of pizazz; to maybe add the pounds and shillings to your obvious sense. So, how about:

Each night I have added to the
pattern of my fancies until drowsiness closed down upon some vivid scene with an oblivious embrace. For a while these reveries provided an outlet for my imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the
unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy's wing. But in the early hours, when only the occasional bright door sent ten square feet of light volleying out into the soft black morning, and sometimes a shadow moved against a dressing-room blind above, gave way to another shadow, an indefinite procession of shadows muffling the urgent, as yet distant, trill of approaching police vehicles, I am getting to understand the patterns before they are replaced by the normal daily routine.

There! FIFY; go forth and stupify :)


Jim Belshaw said...

Oh dear, kvd, I couldn't help laughing. I laughed again when I saw your conversation with Neil - Now I am going to have to read the damn book (I have always avoided it!) so that I can take sides properly!

Anonymous said...

Jim, one can never 'take sides' with Gatsby. He is a multi-faceted, omni-lingual ever-present cornucopia of alliterative wordishness. It's best to simply genuflect, and get on with one's life - I feel.

Mind you, I was severely creeped out (as one or other of your daughters might say) by Neil's independently contemperaneous choice of the exact same passage as I chose to deliberately butcher for your benefit.


Jim Belshaw said...

Again, kvd, you made me laugh. Life is absolutely crazy at the moment that I struggle to find the time to write. But today's very Monday forum post will be dedicated to you and Neil!