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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Why we write what we write

I've been re-reading Alice Walker's "In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens", a sensitive examination of her writing life and what other writers have meant to her, how they inspired not only her life, but her writing. In the section titled "Saving the Life That Is Your Own" she writes about Toni Morrison (an author whose complex and intense writing I find difficult to read). Walker writes, "It has been said that someone asked Toni Morrison why she writes the kind of books she writes, and that she replied: Because they are the kind of books I want to read." Walker continues, "This remains my favorite reply to that kind of question."

I often look at what others have written and say to myself, "Now why can't I write like that?" And being perpetually deficient of self-esteem, it bothers me...for a minute or two. When reading, say, Alice Walker, and realizing that I cannot and will not ever write like her (or J.K. Rowling), I am content to know that I write the way I want to, mainly because what I write I truly love to read. It is me.

Recently, I gave a talk to a local group about my books, and included a reading from two of them. At the end of my reading I was in tears. My story, no matter how many times I read it, still evokes strong emotion in me, and hopefully in others. It is the kind of story I love to write because it is the kind of story I love to read.

Love what you write. Write what you love to read. It will be much better than trying to write like someone else.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Women Writers/Artists

My writers' group always gives an assignment - a writing task - for our next meeting. This time it was to write something - a poem usually - about our town. But I started thinking about the women in my group. One member has recently appeared very tired to me. So I wrote a poem about women and what they do. It started out as a personal recollection, and ended up a tribute to women in general.

by Kath Fearing

After I retired
I slept ten to twelve hours
Every night
For a month - at least
Never realizing the bone weariness
Ignoring the darkness around my eyes
From living
Chasing the necessary
Taking everyone’s care unto me
Pushing myself behind
Everyone else before
And my mother crept into my thoughts
Whispered, there is no place called Hell
It is here, on Earth
But she misspoke
I only had to stop chasing
Throw my head into the wind
Let it muss my hair
Caress my cheeks
And find myself among the brambles. 

So, I shall present my poem at our next meeting and say to them, women, take some time for yourself. Be yourself. Love yourself.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Changes - the stuff of life

Recently, I purchased a new computer - a Mac. Wow! I love it, but it's really different from my old pc. I know I'm going to love the changes; but, change can be intimidating. The Mac has a different look, a different way of filing folders, a different way of doing many things. The wonder is, I love the idea of doing things in a different way. It's that 'wow' factor that makes us look at old things in a new way - changes old habits for new ones.  Change creates a spark in the brain that, in my case anyway, is totally welcomed and appreciated. I'm learning a new way to create. I'm experimenting. That spark in the brain is mixing up old writing juices that were sitting around doing nothing. My advice: make a change, even a little one. Try something new. Get the juices flowing. Wow!