A Writer's Love

Recently, I’ve been feeling a bit expansive.

me-chi-chi-tricycle.jpg
Chi-Chi and me… um, shoes?

I suppose it has something to do with the fact that Chi-Chi is going for a quarterly MRI scan on Monday (hopefully the last one). Sometimes it’s easier to back away from emotions like this and escape to happier times. You might say this is only delaying the inevitable, but perhaps it’s also a door to a deeper understanding. Let’s see if I can fail at explaining this…

I am sitting in the cafe. The sun, which until this point lay somewhere off in the trees, has just burst over the tops of the houses across the street. This reminds me of the way a story can turn in an instant from a jumble of words into a vision of beauty, into a verse of power. Then, just when you reach the pinnacle of that feeling, the sun moves a bit higher in the sky and the day (or the story) becomes like any other and you wonder how it is that you can hold onto that bit of emotion, like a dream your mind clings to when your body decides it is time to rise.

That’s a bit over the top, but I suspect that most of you have felt this way at one point or another. When you go back and read that bit of writing, you may even wonder what it was that touched you because the sentence, paragraph, or page is like so many others.

For a long time, I’ve been trying to quantify this feeling, to describe it in my journals so that perhaps I might recreate at will. Of course, this is an impossible task. It’s like trying to describe why a sudden flurry of snowflakes fills you with joy or the unexpected touch of a lover’s hand sends a flush through your body or when you take a ride on the back of a tricycle.

It simply is.

When I wrote my first novel, I was locked in a deep enjoyment of the process and the story. Every day, I woke up but stayed in bed for awhile. I laid there watching the light play against the linen curtains, the casement window cranked open to the sounds of the day. I thought of nothing in particular. Just stretching the mind as well as the body, slowly preparing to enter the world. Eventually, I got moving. I took in some exercise and then eased my way into breakfast. In good time, I sat down in a fat white chair by the bay window in our townhouse and started to write.

It would be wrong of me to say that I’ve never had an experience like that since. In fact, there are moment (like today) when the sun is just right and my heart wells up with the love of the art and the story. It fills to capacity and spills over into a deep love of the universe. It expands on through time both backwards and forwards. It cradles the tender moments of memories and embraces the long hopes of dreams.

After all, isn’t the love of life the thing that drives us to create? Do we not love our stories and our characters? And are they not reflections of the world we inhabit and therefore merely mirrors through which we bear witness to the love we feel for those around us?

I suppose that we sometimes get into the sort of writing where it is difficult to locate any tinge of love. Perhaps in the dark writing that plays home to our demons… Yet, even there, I say there is love. There must be love to drive us through the pain of creation for love is not all sunshine and roses. Love is complicated and contradictory.

When I struggle with a story, I go to my journal and write about it. I write about the struggle itself and then I write about the possibilities. Eventually, I come around to writing about why it is that I even began the story in the first place. This is not a complaining sort of why but rather a real question about the root of the story. When I examine this closely, I find the something that fits this poor description of a writer’s love that I have been trying to share here…

Still, no matter how hard I try to avoid it, life has a way creeping in to the perfect world of a writer’s love. Sometimes we say that Life is too short. I suspect that what we really mean is that the Living is too short and that’s only because we learn so late to embrace it. Rather than try to escape through fantasy or by casting beautiful veils about, we should live in the moments we have and record them with purpose.

Here then is where the light comes forth. I understand there is something else beneath the surface that I am trying to coax back into the light. I begin again with a renewed sense of purpose, to serve the writer’s love which is only a small reflection of a father’s love.

Best of luck, Chi-Chi!!!

15 thoughts on “A Writer's Love

  1. Okay, I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment. However, I totally identify with this. In vastly different details I am in a similar process presently. I have been learning to love me as much as I do others (including my characters). I too would like to skip dealing with the junk and get to the cozy reading chair. sigh.

    Godin wrote this morning about the gap between experience and doing. Currently the focus has been on experience over doing. Some of this is a feedback loop from generations of do-do-do and ignore (sometimes drown out) the feelings.

    As the mother of previously small children I often found myself caught between the glow of a love bond and fear that some dread unknown might “spoil” it with an unpleasant new reality. The pivotal point was about continuing to risk a love bond that might bring heartache or stay at arm’s length emotionally and just “do” stuff. And I’m going to have to break-off with these thoughts half-finished.

    Prayers for a good outcome for Chi-Chi.

    Deb´s last blog post..Sunrise on the cusp of winter

  2. As a musician and a writer, your article resonated with me on two fronts. There are those numinous moments when all the struggle and pain and dry spells are forgotten, and for an instant the Art itself shines like the morning sun, making all the effort a small price to pay for that precious instant. I live for those rare times, both in my music and in my writing.

    Thank you for such a beautiful and well-written article! I will be visiting often.

    Mike Nichols´s last blog post..Phobia Names: Why Can’t We Just Agree?

  3. Whole lot of meaning to ponder there, Jamie – in the words, yes, but equally so in the photograph of you (concentrating so hard!) in the wagon behind Chi-Chi’s trike. “Life is short; take a ride on the back of a tricycle. Now.” That’s the voice I’m hearing.

  4. @Deb Thanks, Deb… and thanks for taking the time to comment. I know you are totally busy. This is such a great point:

    The pivotal point was about continuing to risk a love bond that might bring heartache or stay at arm’s length emotionally and just “do” stuff.

    a perfect statement about parenthood.

    @Mike Thank you for stopping by and for the kind and thoughtful words. How true it is that the small moments make for the great price and sacrifice for Art. Sigh. Makes me want to paint!!!

    @Rebecca LOL! I was focusing so hard because I wasn’t wearing shoes and we were going fast! Chi-Chi has his mother’s strength (she of the Gaia-like deadlifts). And so, like Antaeus, Chi-Chi draws his strength from the earth. This might sound like an overstatement, but trust me it isn’t. They are amazing!

    You’re so right though about getting on the tricycle now. This picture was taken at a school event. Parents were standing around chatting. I wasn’t having any of that. When the opportunity presented itself, I jumped into the back of the chariot and off we went! :)

  5. Man, oh, man– this one spoke to me: “In fact, there are moment (like today) when the sun is just right and my heart wells up with the love of the art and the story. It fills to capacity and spills over into a deep love of the universe. It expands on through time both backwards and forwards. It cradles the tender moments of memories and embraces the long hopes of dreams.”

    You just put into words a feeling that I had earlier this week. Beautiful.

    Wishing nothing but good results on Monday.

    Karen Putz´s last blog post..Come and Join Us for Mom’s Night Inn

  6. What a wonderful post for a Sunday. It actually filled my heart as I read. “Sometimes we say that Life is too short. I suspect that what we really mean is that the Living is too short and that’s only because we learn so late to embrace it.” Yes. Best of luck to you and Chi-Chi.

    Lisa Kenney´s last blog post..Putting Socks on an Octopus

  7. Jamie, there are so many words I could say , passages upon which I could comment but I fear to describe how I feel would break the magic of this moment. This is a piece to be savored again to catch the words in the spaces. Your writing just wrapped itself around me and lingered like the warm smell of gingerbread baking in the oven. You are truly genius with a pen my friend. Thank you.

    Karen Swim´s last blog post..What I Learned from the Generosity of Strangers

  8. @Liz @Lisa @Karen Thanks so much. Chi-Chi is ready to go this morning though we had some tough times this weekend because he didn’t want the shots! (For those of you who don’t know, when little kids get an MRI they get sedated. Not fun, but necessary.)

  9. @Meryl Thanks! Hope you’re healing up!

    [Update] All turned out well with Chi-Chi’s MRI. We now move from quarterly to bi-annual MRIs. What a process. I’ll tell you that the people who say “enjoy the process” have probably NOT gone through this one. :)

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