We are a group of writers who gather once a month to offer our insecurities to the writing world and/or offer support to those in need. We're all in this together. It makes the writing life a little less lonely when you know there are 230+ other writers experiencing the same highs and lows as you are. You really aren't alone :0).
There have been two months this year. We tentatively step into number three. Some of you have already faced battles and great joys. Chronic illness fluctuates and I go from mountain top to valley in a matter of moments.
I subscribe to Poets and Writer's Magazine. It consistently inspires me and pushes me to be a better writer. I find prose and poetry that challenges who I am as a writer as well as what I'm doing, what I'm creating. Even in the midst of communing with the couch cushions I have been able to dig deep and think about what I'm doing and why.
The January/February issue is their annual Inspiration issue and this year's is filled with beautiful things, things that make me realize my short comings but that push me toward that distant apex of "the best I can be". It's still a long way off but I'm moving towards it every day. What really spoke to me was their annual look at debut poets. It wasn't so much the entire feature but what one poet in particular said in answer to a question about writing advice.
"Keep working," poet Ari Banias writes. "Follow the shape of your mind's particulars (its rhythms, its oddities) like a bloodhound, and take the poems [or narrative] as far as you possibly can, so that they (the words, the stories) are utterly yours, so that you're writing in that singular way that singular thing no one but you can write. Each time." (words in parenthesis, mine)
Take the narrative as far as you possibly can.
I started asking myself what this means. How can I take my words, my work, as far as I possibly can? I cannot unless I open myself up to the words, the story, and let it take me as far as it can possibly go. It's not up to me to take the story. It's up to me to listen, to stop trying to write a novel and start letting the story seep through my arms, fill up my blood and bones and pour through fingers to keyboard and page. Our soul's work can be seen in black and white.
That is truly amazing. It is the miracle of the call of the writer.
I encourage you today, Dear Reader, to let your story take you as far as it possibly can. Let the words be utterly and completely yours. Don't falter. Don't try to be what someone wants you to be. It doesn't matter if dear Aunt Essie is going to hate it. I doesn't matter if your mother doesn't get it. You have to let the story tell itself through you. Get out of the way. You can edit later.
But for now, right now, let the narrative carry you.