Stories about animals.
I wrote a great, novella-length poem in high school about a girl from Atlanta who lost her soldier lover in the Civil War. (I was into the whole North and South TV mini-series, and completely in love with Orry Main. What girl wasn’t?!)
In college, I wrote and wept my way through writing classes and teachers who pushed me to my emotional limits, because, after all, that is what great writing entails.
Then I had kids.
And all I had time for was real life.
The smell of freshly-bathed baby boys. The fuzzy sound of giggles and whispers through baby monitors. The sweet, sticky heaviness of my son’s head against my heart as he slumps into sleep.
Precious, holy life.
So I wrote what I knew to be true in those moments. And I still do: non-fiction, a full-length memoir, weekly newspaper columns which try to give local folks a hopeful twist on life each week.
And I swore I’d never be able to get back to writing fiction.
Until I tried it.
Now I’m hooked.
Leaning back in the seat of my writing chair, legs plunging into the breeze of words and imagery, metaphor and simile, I’m swinging into story.
And loving it.
Writing fiction is no easier than nonfiction. Indeed, I believe it is more difficult.
Because in the still of the night as my pencil scratches out a characters deepest fears, I scratch out my own.
And only by facing the deepest parts of myself can my stories reach their deepest, most life-changing potential.
Any less would be a disservice–indeed an untruth–for the readers.
And so I press on into this renewed journey writing fiction.
Pushing into the wind.
Pulling against the chains that keep me anchored to the swing, while at the same time freeing me to careen into uncharted atmosphere.
Sucking me into the great, to and fro of words.
In her fabulous book, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, Natalie Goldberg writes:
A writer must say yes to life, to all of life . . . Our task is to say a holy yes to the real things of our life as they exist–the real truth of who we are . . . with a yes on our lips so there can be no more noes in the world, noes that invalidate life and stop these details from continuing.
What about you? Do you write fiction? Nonfiction? Poetry?
What keeps you writing?
What inspires you to write from your deepest places?