We…write to heighten our own awareness of life…We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection…We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it…to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth…to expand our world, when we feel strangled, constricted, lonely…When I don’t write I feel my world shrinking. I feel I lose my fire, my color.
Writing itself is one of the great free human activities. There is scope for individuality, and elation, and discovery. In writing for the person who follows with trust and forgiveness what occurs to him, the world remains always ready and deep, an inexhaustible environment, with the combined vividness of an actuality and flexibility of a dream. Working back and forth between experience and thought, writers have more than space and time can offer. They have the whole unexplored realm of human vision.
People often lack any voice at all in their writing because they stop so often in the act of writing a sentence and worry and change their minds about which words to use. They have none of the natural breath in their writing that they have in speaking…We have so little practice in writing, but so much more time to stop and fiddle as we write each sentence.
It is well to understand as early as possible in one’s writing life that there is just one contribution which every one of us can make; we can give into the common pool of experience some comprehension of the world as it looks to each of us.
It is like fishing. But I do not wait very long for there is always a nibble – and this is where receptivity comes in. To get started, I will accept anything that occurs to me. Something always occurs, of course, to any of us. We can’t keep from thinking.
I tell my students one of the most important things they need to know is when they are at their best, creatively. What does the ideal room look like? Is there music? Is there silence? Is there chaos outside or is there serenity outside? What do I need in order to release my imagination?