Saturday, December 13, 2008

Writing Open & Free

It's a wonder to read a thoughtful writer who is describing a creative state of mind that I have been in myself but haven't named. Here is the masterful American poet William Stafford on the freedom in writing that I experienced in writing Mixed Animal:

"The main feeling I'm having when I'm writing is that I'm seeking the
satisfactions that are in the arrivals at the moment in language for me.
There are little emergent discoveries, opportunities while I write. And
those are so satisfying that that's what I do. The kind of writing I'm
talking about, its direction and effectiveness depend on your total
commitment to letting the experience of now take you to where the makn
tides of your life and the opportunities of language will take you.

There are ways to write in which you may suppress your own feelings.
Suppose you start to write for some cause you believe in and suddenly
you're smitten with the recollection or a realization that there's
something in that cause or some recent thing that's been done by people
in that cause that would spoil your case. So you suppress it. That would
be one way.

The way I want to promote here is to face all the complexities of your
thought as you go along. And there's such exhilaration in letting
yourself become caught up in what you're creating that you are no longer
paying attention to subsidiary things, like the cause.

The kind of writing I'm talking about is like thinking. It's the free
dive into the experience of now. If you let yourself do that, it's not a
self that you're presenting to others. It's not like having prepared a
position that you are now presenting to the world.

Between us there's language. When I write or talk, I just dive into the
language. Even if I start a sentence like this, which I've just started
now, without figuring how in the world I'm going to end it, I know that
I'm going to be able to end it, because I've done many sentences sort of
like this, and no matter how many parentheses I put in, I find my way
out at the end. OK?

Now, you see I didn't have time to think about what is somebody else
thinking about while I'm saying this. If I just dive into the language
it takes care of me. The language takes care of a writer or a talker."

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