Why I Write

 

I have had writer’s block for several months now. The anti-muse in me says, “Who cares about writing? This country is falling apart, who wants to read a personal essay?” I have been silenced as I follow social media constantly for the next scandal, the next outrage, ignoring my writing.

This weekend, I took a pause from my everyday life and went to Barbara Abercrombie’s writing retreat in Lake Arrowhead. In the clear mountain air amid the pines, the muse came back. There were five minute writing exercises to loosen the pen, insightful and helpful comments from fellow writers, and Barbara’s calm and sage wisdom guiding us all. Several essays, including mine, were influenced by Trump and current politics. I dusted off an old piece and refined a new one. The logs crackled in the fireplace and I had the condolet to myself as I wrote and rewrote late into the evening both nights, incorporating the advice I received during workshop. By Sunday morning, I felt bonded to my fellow writers and wanted to stay for another week or another month, reading my work aloud and listening to theirs.

Sometimes all it takes is a pause from everyday routines and a chance to step back, indulge in the muse, and rediscover why we write. We ended the workshop with each of us reading lines from Terry Tempest Williams’ poem, “Why I Write.” These were the lines that resonated with me this weekend:

“I write to make peace with the things I cannot control.”

 “I write against power and for democracy.”

 “I write out of my anger and into my passion.”

 “I write as a witness to what I have seen. I write as witness to what I imagine.”

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13 thoughts on “Why I Write

  1. Cynthia — i don’t know why my caps lock is on and I don’t mean to shout (other than with enthusiasm) — loved your piece and i’ve been experiencing the same thing for many months now. I should have gone to arrowhead with all of you! kathleen

  2. hello cynthia, i can’t seem to turn off the caps lock. sorry. i don’t mean to be yelling at you! Tracey yokas here, i wanted to thank you directly for the most lovely and cherished comment you left on my recent post. i can’t tell you how much it meant to me…and of course i remember you!!! I remember our time together with barbara so fondly and we even got together a couple of times in a group afterwards. i’m so glad to read your post here and that you found your muse again. damn that muse that keeps hiding on us! it is hard to write right now which i think is why we must keep doing it. thank you for this reminder that sometimes doing something which seems sometimes so hard, like taking time out for self care, can be the very thing that helps to reignite the fire. Thank you again for reading my post. i appreciate it more than you could know…i’m so glad to reconnect here as well. i hope to stay in touch! best, xo

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