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Brenda Shows the Way

I have a book in my library by Brenda Ueland: "If You Want to Write."  I have had it for many years, and I assume that I must have read it decades ago.  My thought upon picking it up again was something like: oh there's that gushy, enthusiastic, every-body-a-genius, cheerleader of a writing teacher's book.  And so I was very surprised to find exactly the answer I wanted to the question of how one takes pains with their writing.  I must have been too sophisticated to really absorb her message the first time around. 

One takes pains, according to Brenda, by giving oneself the complete freedom to express one's individual, original, truth.  She cites Blake and Van Gogh.  Blake, who had no interest in rewards beyond the ecstacy of creation itself, Van Gogh, whose passion was to show the beauty of the simple forms of creation.  One achieves this pure expressive state by locating oneself in the present, and uniting truth, passion, memory (or whatever list of pure elements you choose), to the constantly unfolding revelation of life, as joyfully, as unpretentiously, "as a child stringing beads."

Following Brenda, I resolve that I will say what I am without apology and without vanity.  To question how much of a writer one might be, is like a raindrop asking if he is wet enough to be called "good" rain. Writing is its own reward.

Let it be enough
that my tears
have stained
this ground...


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jun. 19th, 2009 06:48 am (UTC)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Cydonia photo: ESA

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