The Writing Process

Yesterday I took the day off from writing to visit a friend and her new apartment. While taking a breather to gain perspective is never a bad thing, I did miss my morning of writing. It’s been grounding me and gives me a sense of purpose. I’ve grown accustomed to writing in the mornings, even though I feel that initial morning slump I described a few segments ago. If I have a productive morning of writing, or at least make my best attempt, I feel at liberty to enjoy the rest of my day less studiously (i.e. Taking a walk into town with Violet, tinkering in the garden, watching The Barefoot Contessa.) Especially where it’s summer, I put a premium on being able to run to the beach quickly and often.

This room, the quiet strangers sitting in this room working too, the hum of the air vents creating a pleasing white noise, have become my AM companions. There are paintings on the walls, depicting backcountry pastimes like duck hunting, ice fishing and construction of the North Bridge. There’s one directly across from me showing a man in a rocking chair and a woman in an armchair sitting by candlelight in Colonial times. The scene doesn’t look unlike my mom’s Colonial living room with its armchairs and rocking chairs (and I don’t think she’d mind living by candlelight if she could.)

There’s a history in this room, and an energy. It houses the literary works of thousands of great minds, most notably Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau (whose portrait hangs to my right), Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson. They devoted years of their lives to the cause, and it’s those toils that are felt heavily in this space. More recent authors, like Sarah Payne Stuart (Perfectly Miserable) have also made a mark on this community. With the weighty precedent of all of them on my shoulders, I feel humbled and—blessedly—sanctioned. I sit here next to their manuscripts, portraits and busts (Thoreau’s, again, behind me to the left), sensing their expectation.

It’s the same sensation I had when I read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and got to the chapter where she challenges herself to write an entire novel in a month (and succeeds), or when I read the resplendently fresh novel Swamplandia, written by 29 year-old, award-winning authoress Karen Russell. And it’s every time I close one of the classics… Wharton’s The House of Mirth or Dickens’ Great Expectations.

So what, then, prevents me, prevents anyone, from thinking It’s all been done before? What is there to say, here in this blog and in the world at large, that is uniquely my voice? What would be interesting to people? What is interesting to me?

Soil & sand,

Iris

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