OF MAKING WORDS
(Originally posted on the website Continuum…)
IF I WERE TO WRITE about the art of writing, my words would fail to carry the true substance of the issue. They might convey my thoughts, but not the love.
Case in point: “the love” of writing. It is not just love. It is also passion. Excilerating and possessive at the same time. Never mind that he has only slept three hours the night before. Fitful sleep at that because his mind was rushing with ideas. When the inspiration, the muse, the demon is upon him, he must write. Rest escapes him. He knows that he will pay the price in a few hours when his responsibilities drag him from his pillow with the dawn. Yet, it does not matter than his eyes burn and his brain is bleeding down the back of his neck. He will drink his strong coffee and savor it as good wine, or maybe morphine. He is content because…
Because he has written. He has made words. He has taken of the common stock of linguistic supplies and made words. His words. He has turned them, chiseled them, tapped them into place. He has struggled to find the right words. They may not be the fanciest of words. They may not be the most popular of words. But they are the right words, for they are his. He has made them.
Perhaps his words fall into the mind or heart of a reader and take root. Perhaps the reader feels some of the author’s true mind in them. Maybe the reader is moved to tears, maybe to laughter. The reader may be left with an urgency to know more, to know who, to know why. The writer’s words have transmitted life. He is satisfied.
Yet, of deeper satisfaction to him is the process of writing itself. His mind conjures ideas and half thoughts. The ideas incubate until finally their hour has come. The writer must write. He must give birth to new words. Once his literary child emerges and stands tangibly before him, he is satisfied, or at least relieved of its burden to a great degree.
Is it not at that point that several new ideas enter his mind to replace the one he has just sent forth? The act of writing has itself inspired the writer. Each time he writes, he desires to write again. Such is his love of the craft.
Was it so with Salinger? Steinbeck? Kerouac? Just to pull a few names off the shelf. Did the love and necessity of writing grip them and refuse to let go until they scrawled out their words?
I do not know. I do not much care. It is so with me. There is satisfaction in making words. Whether appreciated or neglected, received or rejected, I love to make words. Sometimes the writing turns out well. Other times not. Someone else can judge that matter. I only know that I would betray my very being if I did not write. My satisfaction is in the making of the words.