Re-Post from February 2011:
“One should never write just to avoid being silent…. I feel a writer MUST write what is in his heart, and if there is nothing there of strong content or passion, then he must LIVE and EXPERIENCE before he can truly write….writing is, after all like art, simply sharing our passion with the world.” ~from a letter to my mother, April 2001
Today, I found an old copy of a letter written to my mother ten years ago. Reading the letter reminded me of the exuberant passion I’ve always felt toward writing as art and my sincere, consistent belief that “one should never write just to avoid being silent.”
I believe that the best writing comes from deep belief, sincere passion, and a strong connective tissue between the writer and the written. These qualities allow great writing to transcend the particular time of its creation.
A writer suffering deep loss, of a child or spouse, will put that loss into the words of a poem or story. It is an intimate loss to him, but it is also a common experience, a shared sadness among other human beings. He will articulate the loss, others will read and identify with his words, the poem or story will always be his but will also become an independent identity in many ways. It will outlive him, or keep him alive, in coming centuries depending on your view. It has its own permanence.
This permanence, or legacy, is part of arts truth, so to speak. Most people can name a few classic writers and artists without great trouble (Shakespeare,Hemingway, Van Gogh, Rembrandt), but how many could name current artists? Very few could name the current Poet Laureate or a current popular painter. Artists understand, to some degree, that their work may well have more meaning and be worth more value in the future. A writer writes now with an eye focused a decade away. An artist creates now with the understanding that his canvass is more permanent than himself.
The artist is a creator. He excavates his emotional soul and pours deep truths onto the waiting page or canvass; he dissects and maneuvers the universal realities he sees as he lives, recasting and reworking them into a timelessness that becomes art. This art becomes a flexible representation of the universal passion of humanity and endures because of that kinship. He creates a legacy, an oeuvre, for himself that will eventually be all that remains.
Art is steeped in the history of it’s time of creation to some degree, but that is more reference point than anything else. The language, dress, and backgrounds’ may change, but the faces and voices are timeless. Eyes look out hauntingly with fear or joy, action takes place with a certain tone or with laughter. The experience is universally human regardless of the time period.
Great writing, like all great art, will show us a truth we know in a way we didn’t know how to express. The combination of new insight along with recognizable, enduring truth gives us an “ah-ha” moment – a moment in which we become one with the words and the writer, one with the art and the artist.~
You are Water.
You come to me like the deep-running crystalline water
of cold mountain streams I once roamed beside in childhood hours.
Water flowing fast over polished rocks, the glint of Autumn sunlight
dancing across the gurgle and swish of currents, rolling
down, over, lower toward some eventual unknown ocean.
My soul captured by that bright sparkle was forever reaching
for the golden glimmer dancing beneath my hands, child-fingers
grasping in the icy water unable to capture the light illusive and fleeting.
You are Earth.
You open before me like the moss covered ridges and valleys
I strolled through as a girl in the tall pine forests of Carolina.
Your scent like the deep wet earth after a gentle Spring rain.
Your arms and hands and fingers the sinew of roots, your skin
the color of evening descending through the valleys at twilight.
My spirit captured by the deep-graying light of evening, sitting
still on the dark green moss – watching – until the last streaks
of light left the sky and dark descended like a curtain on the world.
You are Air.
You flow into me like a breeze moving through the giant oak trees
of my adolescence, twisting and turning each leaf to movement. A sudden
symphony of hushed tones, soft rustled sounds of possession as
the tree becomes one with the wind that invades it. Like God breathing
into Adam — a gentle whisper carrying the all-consuming power to Be.
My mind captured in the soft-voiced honeyed silk words sliding from your lips,
you become a foreign zephyr traveling through me, carry me skyward and
leave me adrift in the wordless place of amber-eyed heights that is you.
You are Fire.
You burn through my veins like liquid mercury. The white-hot presence of you
rages in the room stealing the air from my lungs, leaves me weak and yearning.
A bright silver fire flowing through all those secret places of memory and need
before the fire becomes all, the flames filling my body to bursting-glowing
like the face of Moses after standing before the burning bush of God.
My body captured by the curiosity of wanting to know, to experience
the most uncommon of things. How could I have known the Mercury —
so glittery-silver and liquid-beautiful in my hand — would be so deadly?
The Key Hole, by Andrew Giovinazzo
“All the books we own, both read and unread,are the fullest expression of self we have at our disposal. … But with each passing year, and with each whimsical purchase, our libraries become more and more able to articulate who we are, whether we read the books or not.” ~ Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree
- High Fidelity (Nick Hornby) (readingfloozies.wordpress.com)
- 10 Books For Getting Over Your Breakup (buzzfeed.com)
- About A Book (whatyoushouldbereadingbookchallenge.wordpress.com)