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On writing

November 6, 2007

One of my favorite authors, Julia Alvarez, describes the writing process as such:

“Living other lives enriches our writing life… What do I mean by the
writing life?  For me, the writing doesn’t just happen when I sit
at the writing desk.  I mean a life lived with a centering
principle, and mine is this, that I will pay close attention to this
world I find myself in…. Another way to put it is that writing life
is a life lived with all the windows and doors opened.  ‘My heart
keeps open house,’ was the way the poet Theodore Roethke put it in a
poem.  And rendering what one sees through those opened windows
and doors in language is a way of bearing witness to the mystery of
what it is to be alive in this world”  (Julia Alvarez, Something to Declare).

This is precisely why I write, and why I like
to write.  I see and hear so many fascinating, intriguing,
disturbing, and inspiring people and events in the world around me that
I desire to put words to my experiences of them so that others, too,
may be inspired to live life with all of their doors and windows opened
to receiving what is around them.

Life, like writing, is an experience, not a means to an end.

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