“I used to be a journalist”, I told the Stranger. “Now I’m a writer.”
The Stranger thought for a moment.
“That’s interesting,” he said. “Because a journalist is something you do…..but a writer is who you are.”
When I sat down at the keyboard to craft this, the final piece of my 30-day spree, a feeling of comfort coursed through me. Over these past 30 days, I’ve discovered/re-discovered that “there’s no place like home”- and, for me, home is writing.
I’m proud of the work I’ve created. With the exception of four pieces from my memoir, “The Corner of Burch and Grace”, all pieces were crafted on the spot, once I sat down at my keyboard.
Besides having the gift, the skill, and the inclination, a writer must possess two, important qualities: independence and the ability to be alone for long periods of time.
I’m thankful that, even though I love socializing and people in general, I’m naturally inclined towards solitude. Since childhood, with a powerful mother as my role model, I have been fiercely independent. When my brothers abandoned me on our Sunday walks to church in favor of cigarettes and other boy-mischief, I kept going by myself. I went to the public pool by myself, ice skating by myself, movies, travel, pursuits of all kinds. I have never waited around for anyone.
An astute acting peer, who barely knows me, once commented, “You’re the lone wolf. You left the pack a long time ago and you’re never going back.”
“The better to stand back and observe you, my dear,” I thought.
A writer must be able to be comfortable with solitude, for is there any other pursuit more solitary than writing? I sit still and the history of the world and knowledge of all things pass through me. I am the richest woman on earth.
I received an email yesterday from a client. “Why is writing so tedious?” she whined. “Every word must be clearly chosen……”
That’s what writing IS. That’s what a real writer DOES. That’s what I LIVE for. Anyone can write a shitty first draft and walk away. But, mastery lies in the searching and the choosing of the right words, the chiseling, the attention paid to the movement and placement of those words, the caretaking of melody, rhythm, and punctuation.
This spree has been a springboard into the completion of my next project: a memoir about mental illness and two heroines’ journey.
My writing teacher, Jack Grapes, told me one day, several years back, “You came to this life to know, Sandra. You came to witness.”
Yes, I did, Mr. Grapes. And, my gratitude is deep for this gift that will keep me occupied and engaged for all the rest of my days.
And, I’m grateful to you if you’ve chosen to support me and my efforts over these past 30 days.