Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why can't it be easy?

Morning on the water. The camera captures the contrast in light, ripples in the water, lines and curves of familiar objects. The scene is recognizable, a ramp, a water scene, mountains in the distance, rocks and outcrops, a boat, a morning mood.

 I should be able to do the same with words. I should be able to frame my thoughts as in a photograph, with a main subject, a hint of light on the main focus area, and a whole side line of details to create the scene of the action. A cinematographer would know how to go from here to the next scene, perhaps on that boat, off that outcrop, in more sinister waters. A cinematographer will have read the script and know what the writer wanted to achieve, the mood, the pacing, the final conflict of man vs man or man vs nature story.  The writer, though, had to get it all down on paper with words.

It is not so easy for that writer. Writing works in some unpredictable ways in some people.
Take this exercise in bringing you this post.

First, I had the thought/feeling expressed by that title.
I wanted to talk about that.
I searched in my picture bank and I chose this picture.
The picture dictated the narrative in that first paragraph.

I had no idea of how the post would evolve, what it would contain.  It has become more like a child's painting, a stroke here, a recognition there, a aha moment of retracing and voila', if I just add a sun there, the picture is finished.

We actually don't know much in thought. We know more as we squeeze the thought out, as in a toothpaste tube, and shape it into words on paper, one thought at a time, stringing it and wrapping it to feel and smell and look like the topic stated in the title, the theme on the picture that started the whole process.

These impulses feel creative, but they come up short.

How do others get around to choosing a topic, providing the content, illustrating it, illuminating it with powerful imagery and metaphors.  How do you all do it, post after post, poem after poem, story after story?

Why can't writing be as easy as breathing, as easy as taking that photograph? 


  1. I think when writing flows, it is like breathing, breathing out words that magically fit together to express our thoughts. I love how that feels..

    and...I don't always get it. I struggle, noodle over my writing. Some posts start out with such enthusiasm only to fizzle out and never get posted.

    Trust that all you have, all you need is in you. And will come out and be expressed exactly as it should be. Trust that and let it flow.

    Happy writing!

  2. Sometimes the words come effortlessly, and sometimes it's like a spring that has run dry...nothing reaches the paper.

  3. Sometimes I do the reverse of what you do -- that is, instead of searching for a picture that fits narrative, I start with the picture. Most days, I carry an inexpensive digital camera around with me and snap pictures of whatever interests me. In the evening when they're downloaded, often at least one of the many photos will evoke a narrative.

  4. i'm writing every moment. or at least, every moment when i have the presence of mind to be quiet. isn't that something?

    i am still. what comes to paper rises to the top of its own volition. i have very little to do with it. i have very little to do with anything at all. and yet i am here, but barely.

    but i am not a writer. i am a woman. i feel.

    i sat by the lake. the world was still but the lake was not. the water came toward my toes as though it were a dog, one of those mangy dogs that had been kicked too often but found it couldn't deny what it had wanted all along, love. that is how the lake came to me, low and wary. and the sun responded illuminating its side. my foot, it was only there.


  5. I write mostly to clear my head, and occasionally to record something significant, some thoughts that came to my mind, a book I read, a strong feeling that arose in me, a person I just met. In these cases, I do not struggle much. However, when I write just because I want to write something, I have to think a lot. That does not come easy. Either way, I have realized that writing is very therapeutic. In fact, for me, it is most therapeutic when I don't know what I'd be writing about, and yet sit in front of my laptop thinking and collecting thoughts. That is when I feel most happy with myself.