Archive for writing purpose

Rebel with a cause?

It has been a long time since I updated this website. I still haven’t finished that series on POV on my Free wisdom page [I have begun to think it’s because I am so biased against multiple POV that I can’t make myself write a defense of it!].

But it goes beyond that. It’s almost as if I’ve been actively rebelling against the pressure on writers to “build their brand,” or whatever the expression is; to promote themselves relentlessly using social media. I’m just not into that. I’m not against it either, but it feels like a tremendous drain on creative energy and resources, not to mention time, that is already in perilously short supply for me, and for most writers.

Maybe that’s what I need to write about over on Free wisdom: an article about finding a balance between the need to focus on craft and the pressure to promote.

But not today. What I have written is a post over on my blog about silence, and what it means to me as a writer. I wish I could say I’d come to some grand epiphany about it that would help all writers everywhere, but no. Maybe it will speak to you anyway.

“Eureka!” moment while reading Oliver Sacks

I took a break yesterday from endlessly proofing and revising the manuscript of my “secret project” and sat outside in the April sunshine to give myself a treat. In one sitting, I devoured Hallucinations, the latest book from neurologist Oliver Sacks, a writer who is one of the literary heroes whom I worship. I fell in love with sign language many years ago after reading his book, Seeing Voices. And I believe it was this book, salted away in the archives of my mind, that triggered the voice I heard one day in my car, telling me that the main character of a book on which I had been blocked for years was deaf. I give credit to Sacks for unlocking my first novel, Cheshire Moon, for me.

Every time I read one of his books, no matter what the topic, I find more inspiration. Yesterday, while reading Hallucinations, I came upon this passage on page 90.

“To live on a day to day basis is insufficient for human beings; we need to transcend, transport, escape; we need meaning, understanding, and explanation; we need to see overall patterns in our lives.”

And it was like discovering the Ba’al Shem Tov quote I keep elsewhere on my website all over again; it was as if Sacks had seen into my heart. Yes! Though my attempts at providing escape, meaning, or transcendence will always fall short, they are still what make the time I spend writing worthwhile.