This week I learned that writers get sick.
And when that happens, the entire landscape — of the story, of one’s life, of time moving and passing, of the inner and outer appearance of things — looks something like this:
So the question is: did I write this week?
My answer to that question would have to be “No,” if writing means pressing keys to create symbols on paper that would serve to express or convey the ideas in my mind.
But if one understands writing to be what happens in the mind at every minute one is at work on a story, including all the time one isn’t pressing keys; if one understands that writing can happen by reading and thinking and pondering and mulling while lying in bed in a viral haze; if one understands that time spent doing these things is not lost or wasted, but is in fact one part of the wildly mysterious process we call “writing’ — then my answer would be “Yes, I did write this week.”
I tried to make use of the days I lay abed with a violent headache that prevented me from doing the simplest of tasks to mull over my story, to pray about a new writing project and whether I should attempt it (it’s non-fiction), to plan how I was going to compartmentalize two weeks worth of work into whatever remained of the week before Thanksgiving, and, when I felt like I could process a little information, I spent some time reading about the craft of writing. I’m happy to know I’m not the only writer who wouldn’t consider this week a total loss.
I share with you a tidbit, a quote, that inspired me and brought clarity to this week’s altered dreamscape, by one of my favorite writers:
“I am in full possession of accumulated resources — I have only to use them, to insist, to persist, to do something more — to do much more — than I have done. The way to do it. . . is to strike as many notes, deep, full, and rapid as one can. . . Go on, my boy, and strike hard. . . Try everything, do everything, render everything — be an artist, be distinguished, to the last. — Henry James
Here’s to the final week of National Novel Writing Month — and to the beginning of the rest of my life as a writer and artist. Onward!