Something Only I Can Write
Here Come the People in Grey

The Mindless Life of the Mind (or, What Writers Do With Their Time)

Clip_image003"It should surprise no one that the life of the writer -- such as it is -- is colorless to the point of sensory deprivation.  Many writers do little else but sit in small rooms recalling the real world.  This explains why so many books describe the author's childhood.  A writer's childhood may well have been the occasion of his only firsthand experience.  Writers read literary biography, and surround themselves with other writers, deliberately to enforce in themselves the ludicrous notion that a reasonable option for occupying yourself on the planet until your life span plays itself out is sitting in a small room for the duration, in the company of pieces of paper."  (Annie Dillard, in The Writing Life)

Well, who needs money when writing can be that attractive, that rewarding?  Everyone knows I'm not a writer like Annie Dillard but, having written a little, and been to a few writers' conferences and workshops, I can understand what she says.  Writers do surround themselves with other writers to remind themselves that they are doing something, that the little room and the pieces of paper or bits of information on the hard drive do have value.

Well, a lot of writing is simply looking around and saying something, noticing something about some particular thing or things that maybe not many people notice or, if they do, they rarely say anything about.  Maybe for good reason.

Like the way my daughter says "good point," just   like    that.  Good point.  Punctuation at the end of an answer, or maybe wherever she wants to say it, just to draw conversation to a close or maybe say "I'm wrong but I can't say it so I'll just say this to let you know that I get it, that I'm not stupid, that I really knew that."  Only it's easier to just say "good point," just     like     that.

Or the creaking board.  Oh, you know what I mean, only no one talks much about it.  You step out of bed in the morning, put your foot on the floor, the foot that feels as if it hasn't held up your body for a few months so it needs to get acclimated to you, put your weight down on the carpet, and there's that big "creaaaak."  That loose board.  The ones you told the builder to be sure were secure, would not creak, never creak, before you had the new carpet put in and it was too late.  And yet, it creaks.  Is that just life, the reminder that nothing will ever be exactly right here, between our coming and our going?  Just "creaaaaaak."  I'll never get used to that. I'll never get used to life here.

But when you get tired of writing about those important things, you can write about. . . about the time you were laying in your bassinet and your mother came in and picked you up and said something barely intelligible that sounded like "howsmibabeetoodayyyy."  Nope.  Just kidding.  I don't really remember that.  See, I was too young.  That's called literary license, folks.

Hey, this room is getting smaller.

I need some air.

Good point.

Creaaaaak.

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