Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Stitching Up Old Wounds With Words
When you’re a writer who says she is working on a new book, people understandably ask how the writing is going, particularly people like your agent and other writers. For over two years, I've been saying two seemingly contradictory things: I am working on a new book AND I’m not writing.
The truth is that it’s never really accurate to say that I’m not writing. I fill pages by hand before the sun comes up in the morning- recording dreams, mulling thoughts, wandering and wondering on the page. I post regularly on Facebook and I post a blog of fresh (as in new- I’m not making any claim of brilliant originality of thought) writing weekly. In between this, I write notes about books I'm reading and emails to friends and readers. And I have what may be a half-written first draft of a novel on my laptop and more than several chapters that may or may not end up aforementioned book I am “working on.”
If the Inuit, the First Nation people who live in the far north, have one hundred names for snow, it seems I should have at least a couple of dozen for the different types of writing I do. One of these would be for the writing I love best, the writing I do when I can say, “I am writing a new book.” Until a few weeks ago I was trying to write a new book, planning on writing a new book, working my way into writing a new book.
Now, I am writing a new book.
And my heart is glad in a way I can hardly hope to describe.
This is writing that takes me the way a passionate lover does. I interrupt postures in yoga class to scribble in a small notepad as ideas about the morning’s writing and what is next flood in; I walk around with a smile on my face simply because another three thousand words spilled from my fingers and onto the screen this morning; I forget to pay bills on time, miss appointments and decline social gatherings; I am obsessed, possessed, consumed and enthralled.
It has been a long time since I have felt that in every moment when I am not focused on the writing I am whispering a constant prayer for the writing, a mantra of- “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Which is not to say I am not also, at moments (and particularly before I get started in the morning) terrified.
For those of you who have read my other books, it may be hard to believe me when I say that this one is different- this one is personal. After all, I've shared many personal stories. I've tried to paint with words the colour and shape of one woman’s inner world and shared stories of my interaction with the outer world.
But this book is. . . . a healing for me. It shatters denial that has kept the illusion of safety alive. It opens the door to new ways of being with myself and the world.
I am writing my way to the wholeness that I am, that you are, that we all are.
I am writing my way into the healing I took life for.
I am stitching up old wounds with words and images, and stories.
I am making meaning of what has happened, of what is happening with the truth of my own life.
And I am overwhelmingly grateful in every moment for the blessings of this writing.
Oriah (c) 2013