Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Tonight, I did something I haven't done in years: I attended a meeting of a writers' group. With goading from the hubby, I was able to meet some new people, not freak them out too much with my profession, and maybe stimulate some creativity...? (At the present moment it is excruciating to write creatively because the fragrance of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies is wafting across the tables in the cafe. And why are they baking cookies 45 min. before closing time?? Cliches be damned, I want one!)

Writing has been a part of me since I was six and paid tribute to my soon-to-be aunt-by-marriage in a poem. Elementary and High School were years of stories, fantasies that I related to my baby cousin or scribbled in a notebook or handed in as English assignments. It was fun to invent, to play with words, to be an observer and then distill my memories into characters and actions. I remember taking the city bus with my mother, to shop downtown, and thinking about the stories of each of the other passengers. Who were they and what was going to happen to them?

In college I considered becoming a journalist; I wrote for the newspaper (my first assignment was an obit!) and edited the literary magazine. I wrote for the pleasure of it, drawing support from my friends who were also writer wanna-bes. Grad school was a long, long journey of technical writing which squeezed the joy out of the process; but then I married and my beloved but overly self-deprecating sister-in-law J, an avid reader and also a wanna-be, became my sometime writing buddy...I only wish both our lives were simpler so we could spend more time writing together!

When my kids started entering school, I found a writers' group in a nearby bookstore. We jelled, hanging together for about 6 years until a spat between a founding member and a newbie grew political. Choose sides? What was the point? Maybe the disintegration of the group was part of a natural process, but I grieved nonetheless, unable to find another group that worked quite as well.

A saving grace was a year during which I commuted to work by rail--see my previous entry on the glories of public transportation--and was able to spent some of my commute writing, writing, writing. I wasn't working on anything in particular, but the simple discipline of putting down thoughts, Crap a la Anne Lamott's suggestion, was invigorating. I pleasured in the act just as one might delight in daily exercise, the stimulation of a cognitive muscle that simply felt good good good. And now this job, where I am relegated to audio books while I curse the Turnpike and its traffic. The delight I found in those few commuting days where a broken-down vehicle put me back on the train (and begging for rides to work from colleagues).

I am unsure why it's so difficult for me to find the discipline to write daily, even a page, a paragraph of this blog...but it is nigh impossible (maybe it's the blasted paperwork I struggle thru daily which has destroyed my love of the written word?).

Tonight, one of the co-leaders chatted about NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month, coming up in three weeks. Could I do it? I don't care about meeting any goals, word counts, or product; I simply want to write, daily.

I just want to regain that part of myself--the part that writes.

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