Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Writing

For the most part, I really enjoy writing, and this blog is my easel of choice. Occasionally I will have a brain freeze for about five weeks and stare at the screen trying to type words (any words will do), only to find that I can't even muster a decent caption to my photos. And especially since the day Giovanna was born, my brain has been slipping out my ear and flopping onto my desk, unused.

Which is why I love that last month in my bookclub we were assigned to read this book: Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird". Technically, it is a guide to writing, but even for the ladies in my bookclub who don't care much for writing, it was empowering and inspirational in its own right. I highly recommend* it to anyone who wants to improve their writing, and to anybody who just wants an insightful, self-depreciatingly hilarious, inspirational read.


I am still figuring out how this book will play a role in my life, because I haven't churned out my best-selling novel yet. However, I have noticed that I spend more time engaging in the practice of narrating my thoughts and actions now than I used to, as if someday my mundane existence may be the meat for a really great book.

But you know what? By paying better attention to the things I say and do, and jumping into third person on myself, I've learned a few things: I've learned that I am funnier than I thought I was, I do things for strange and even superstitious reasons sometimes, and that between being a Christian and a Social Worker, I have been trained to censor myself from making a lot of frank and hasty judgments about people and situations. For example, when I found myself narrating in my head a silent interaction between me and someone of color, or between me and someone it would have been easy to pass judgment on, I found myself choosing my descriptive words very carefully, because I could feel the power of the words I chose, to represent me and my beliefs or not to represent me. Most of the time I do not engage in this narrative of my life, and I believe that I may be missing out on a simple tool for introspection. This exercise has allowed me to consider writers, and how they may be a small struggling population, but that they in their workaday worlds may be more knowledgeable about themselves than any of the rest of us.

* I do highly recommend this book, but I want to add a caveat that there are some swear words in this book, for those of you who would like to read it but may be very sensitive to profanity.

3 comments:

Chelsea Monet said...

Metta, I love your writing, and I'm sure the narrative going on in your head is fascinating. I love that you can put bits and pieces of it on your blog. Some day I hope to read your best seller, hee, hee. You and Marcos have such an interesting, rich life (especially combined) that I'm sure you have 100 little stories being born every moment.

Heather said...

And oh, how I miss that book club.

Tay said...

The narrative goes on whether we are aware of it or not. Sometimes, we think we are the narrative, and lose track of the ability to step back and see how life really is.