Friday, July 20, 2007

Lamott's Woodpecker and My Blog

In this dark and wounded society, writing can give you the pleasures of a woodpecker, of hollowing out a hole in a tree where you can build your nest and say, “This is my niche, this is where I live now, this is where I belong.”

I never thought of this blog as my little place on the web – in this world – but Anne Lamott’s sentence rang so true, that perhaps, deeper in my psyche, in my vanity, I became so involved in the writing process that I needed the place to become comfortable with my writing.

In the years I studied to become a teacher, I devoted those efforts with the certainty that teaching writing and literature would make me a master storyteller with a penchant for naturally knowing the very best word in any circumstance. Confidence often proves to be our own undoing. Eight years of correcting bad student writing and teaching the generally banal literature covered in lit textbooks diminished my capacity to write and even think critically about what I read. Instead of maintaining my focus, it drained my passion.

Lamott goes on to say about many of the writers who give up:

They got into I for the money and the fame. So they either quit, or they resort to a type of writing that is sort of like candy making.

I was one who quit for a while. I have a friend who resorted to candy making and there is a difference in him now from when he was writing for passion.

For several years – now that I am somewhat removed from teaching – my desire to write grew from a passing fancy to a real yearning. And so I began to blog thinking no one would ever see it – and actually not many people do – but it gives me the outlet; to write, to observe, to share. Most importantly, if fulfills that yearning to be creative.

I’ve made my woodpecker hole and hopefully instead of it being hard and dark, it will be a soft bright spot for my imagination to nest.

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