Monday, April 19, 2010

Let Yourself Write

color moon

When I first read Bird by Bird, I wanted to be Anne Lamott. And when I read One Hundred Years of Solitude, I wanted to be Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I have wanted to be Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard, and a lot of other hilarious, lyrical, or thoughtful writers too.

Ah well. I'm just me.

In Julia Cameron's view of writing, that may be an advantage. "Let yourself write," she encourages. "Begin where you are." "Listen to what's around you."

Last I knew, Wendell Berry has never been to my neighborhood. Annie Dillard has not seen the crescent moon over this 1930's Tudor. Marquez has not walked these red oak floors, bare footed. Not a single one of these famous writers has ever taken a brush to my daughter's thick, dark hair and said, "Tomorrow, if we do nothing else, we must trim your ends. They're splitting."

So it is. If my little corner of the world is going to be shared, I have to let my self write.

And Wendell? We'll let him handle Kentucky.

Join our HCB book club discussion on The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life.

Glynn's The Right to Write, Beginnings
Louise's Automatic Response
Nancy's Let's Write
Lyla's The Art of Taking Dictation
Monica's Book Club: The Right to Write
Marilyn's Book Club
Cassandra's In the Quiet
nAncY's Ready, Set, Go
Erin's Just Writing
Eric's To Begin, and to Begin Again

Crescent Moon painting, by Sara. Used with permission.

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Anonymous Doug Young said...

Beautiful! Sometimes expectations cause me to sense that I should try to be someone else. Thank you for reorienting my mind to its proper course.

7:11 AM  
Blogger M.L. Gallagher said...

These are great sentiments Laura. I shall journey over later today to visit your links!

Thanks for the inspiration.

8:41 AM  
Blogger mom2six said...

I'm glad you are you. I always enjoy reading your view of things.

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Maureen said...

During the Q&A at the Anne Lamott talk I attended a week or so ago, a woman exclaimed how she wants to "write just like you". Anne was gracious in her response, suggesting gently that the best approach is never imitation but using the gift of voice you are given.

I destroyed a journal I once wrote while trying, deliberately, to write like someone else. Imitation always sounds like what it is--and usually worse.

We each have a voice. Writing lets us discover it anew every time we write from the place we are.

9:34 AM  
Blogger A Simple Country Girl said...

Oh, thank you. Thank you.

Sometimes we lose our grip on our heart's cry and try to corral its beating and yearning by doing what and writing how another "professional" says or does.

Do you think our minds sometimes ruin what our hearts have to say? I reckon this is true...


9:39 AM  
Blogger Madame Rubies said...

I am with you. I have wanted to be Anne Lamott myself, among others. What week are you on in The Artist's Way? We are finishing up week 3.

9:58 AM  
Blogger Billy Coffey said...

I wanted to be E.B. White. Still do. And, for a time, Robert Fulghum. When I first started writing, it was their styles I copied. It didn't last long, because like you I discovered I was just me. But I don't think I would have discovered that if I hadn't have tried their clothes on for a while.

2:07 PM  
Blogger ELK said...

beautiful painting are such an encourager .. writing from my corner of the world under the dogwood blooms...

3:36 PM  
Blogger Kelly Langner Sauer said...

Oh. Oh. I love this. May I keep this post somewhere to remember?

3:38 PM  
Blogger n. davis rosback said...

smoochies :-)

3:55 PM  
Blogger RissaRoo said...

I am also guilty of wanting to be Anne Lamott. Bird by Bird is a favorite (it went on my blog's library list this weekend, and you should know it's right there side-by-side with your two books). I think that I may join in this HCB book selection, it sounds like one I need to read!

4:34 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Yes! The begin initiation tool helped me find the beauty in these moments that I call my own. It would be easy to live each moment blindly, closing my eyes to the sacred. When I listen, it changes everything.

This post paints pictures, L.L.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Carol G. said...

A sigh of relief settled around my soul as I read your post. Very well said.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Ann Kroeker said...

I'll handle the boring suburbs over here in Indianapolis.



No, I totally hear what you're saying and I totally agree that I need to be me and yet I totally continue to admire writers so much that I totally teeter on that line of wanting to BE those writers, just as you said.

I've got to get this book and jump in the discussion!

10:35 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

I always enjoy seeing things through your creative eyes.
I have my book and have read the first three chapters, but I need to go back and do the exercises. I am so looking forward to this. Perhaps even I can be a writer! I feel so small in this company.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

So, yeah, I've wanted to write like you, L.L.

Just being honest here. :-)

You're so right. Thanks for this.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Cassandra Frear said...

This sounds so much like what my husband says to show me that I should write.

"You have a story that no one else does and you are the one who must tell it."

7:27 AM  
Anonymous Sam Van Eman said...

This post is very good, LL, split ends and all.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Jim Martin said...

L. L., Love this post! This is such a good reminder than there is great value in writing in one's own context without thinking that something is missing because I am not like a writer who I might admire.

1:45 AM  

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