The Inevitability of Writing About Writing

When I wake up thinking about writing, then it’s clear to me that it has become an imperative. We’ve been dating for years, now I feel about ready to shack up.

My writing doesn’t work well by itself. My writing has reading parents. What I read seems to form this big hook-up scene in my mind. Some connections rise, fall and disappear. Others persist, develop relationships — some platonic, some intimate — and mysteriously (or not so mysteriously) they produce offspring. The written offspring of so much reading and connecting and relating goes off to join other people’s mental hook-up scenes and we end up with much more writing than we can ever read.

When I tell people that I blog, some folks raise their eyebrows and say, “really?”

Sometimes I get inspiration from a hashtag like #humanexperiencein4words. My single submission arrived in a flash after reading a few others: Leave me (not) alone.

Sometimes I wish I had more use for the word “jaunty.”

Other People’s Good Writing opens me up to new vistas. I see something differently or in a wider context. Other People’s Good Writing often tells me something I did not know before. Other People’s Good Writing leads me to wonder about the author. Other People’s Good Writing makes me want to write better and sometimes I do.

Some texts do more than give me pause. They have heart, soul, depth and relevance and sharing them becomes a focused, dedicated effort. A recent post by a Minnesota educator did that for me. Thanks, @MrTomRad.

Some authors’ work makes want to read almost whatever they serve up. Antonia Malchik, whose long read on the disappearance of walking in the United States caught my attention a few months ago, is a writer in whom I find a welcome and kindred role model.

It seems that at some point most authors write about the act or practice of writing. I think perhaps we do this to reassure ourselves that there is purpose to our copious or slow-drip output. It may be a reflection which can subtly enable a nice deflection from the real task at hand — the diss, the book, the extended essay, the not-so-short story. We have words and so we travel.

Coherence, written or otherwise, may be overrated.

Is it inevitable that writers write about writing? I think yes, then no and continue to wonder. Whether I find more use for “jaunty” or discover a deeper, more intimate appreciation for coherence in the world remains to be seen. The need, desire and necessity of writing in my life will likely wax and wane over time.

Leadership Coach, Educator, Workshop presenter & facilitator, avid reader & writer @ home on the edge of the alps. Publisher of "Identity, Education and Power"

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