with fear and courage and rage...

Grace Paley


You become a writer because you need to become a writer - nothing else.


LKD said...

I don't think you become a writer.

I think you either are a writer.

Or you're not.

Is compulsion the same thing as need?

I don't need to write.

I just do.

It's like that magic trick. The magician pulling the never-ending stream of scarves out of his sleeve.

That's how it feels to me.

Sometimes, most of the time, I'm not even pulling.

That stream of scarves just flows out.

I agree with you regarding your response to the Hall quote.

I do too; I write because I write.

There's no goal.

I posted that quote mostly because I feel so directionless regarding my writing.

So goal-less.

That constant drip drip drip in the bucket, and for what?

To pour it out and fill it back up again, word by word, line by line, poem by poem?

Nothing solid, nothing real ever materializes. Because I don't aspire.

I'm trying to figure out why.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Maybe when you're not pulling the scarves is when your'e engaged in the real work. It comes on its own.

Great poems seem to me to be works that are judged by the outside world. Bishop, I don't think, decided one night to write a great poem - and I don't think she wrote her poems for an audience. I think she wrote out of need - but, maybe it is compulsion. Machine-like, though not in a negative way... but as in beyond control.

I tend to wonder if Kenyon would agree with Hall on that point. I sort of doubt it. But, he sees the world as he sees the world.

My view is that the goal is the work itself, the process. I can't write if I'm focused on the product. Deciding to write a great poem today is too much like punching a clock.

You're probably right about either you are or are not a writer.

Interesting thoughts though.

Collin said...

I think some people become writers out of circumstance, but I also believe many people are just born to do it. I know I was. From a very early age, it's all I ever wanted to do. I do need to write. I must.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks for the comment, Collin.

Pamela said...

I just like to make things--if not a poem or a paragraph in a story, then curtains, or a sky-high meringue, or a 100-bead bracelet. For me, making (plus revising) is essential to the whole process, like Penelope's unravel and ravel.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks for the comment, Pamela. The making of things, the process - sounds as thought that is the need.