Thursday, February 14, 2019

Is it love or infatuation?

By Cheryl Oreglia

Sometimes I feel as if I beat to a wildly different drum than that of my peers. Have you ever felt this way? As a creative person I'm drawn to solitude, quiet, even boredom in my search for inspiration. I'm partial to natural environments such as lakes, mountains, and the ocean. A cup of coffee within reach, simple keyboard at hand, maybe a book or two as my muse. I'm happy to lose myself for hours in this way, there is no remorse, I lose track of time, motivated by a unrequited longing to write. I'm not searching for mere words but a meaningful story structured to transfigure the reader.
Agape love is...profound concern for the well-being of another, without any desire to control that other, to be thanked by that other, or to enjoy the process. Madeleine L'Engle
I admit it, when I'm writing I want to brush up against that sacred hem, I'll crawl on my belly if I have to, brave the restless crowds for a singular moment of clarity. Madeleine L' Engle says, "to be an artist means to approach the light, and that means to let go our control, to allow our whole selves to be placed with absolute faith in that which is greater than we are." There is no other way to explain it or justify this wayward preoccupation with the written word. It's one of the most radical vocations I can think of pursuing. Yet I do.

The purpose of this work is to either shift the view of the reader or connect in a profoundly intimate way, as if a textual binocular, one that magnifies, broadens, or at the very least focuses ones view. If not, then what is the purpose? Stories, good ones, are what we pack for the journey, they turn our feet in new directions, give one courage to take that first step into the unknown. 

I'm adept at stalling, as if a clogged catalytic converter, or one who lacks power when attempting to accelerate. Why do I think I must have all the answers before I begin to write? Some of my google searches are absolutely insane. What the hell is that all about? "There is no denying that the artist is someone who is full of questions, who cries them out in great angst, who discovers rainbow answers in the darkness, and then rushes to paper, "claims Madeleine L' Engle. 

I have shelves all over the house, shelves that not only hold books, but trinkets, items that when cradled in my hand "spark joy in my heart." I like to rearrange these things on occasion. I call it putzing. This is the same thing I do when writing. I search for order in the chaos, a rhyme to the beat of a defiant drum, the perfect simile to right the disorder, to clarify some obscure concept, one that "sparks joy" when I find the perfect word. Am I the only one who can hear this persistent beat, as if the words are creating their own rhythm? 

Writing requires discipline. Damn. If I only work when the feeling strikes there would be no blog to speak of, no body of work to look back on, no conflict with my time. I have these rituals I use to settle into the work. I check on my social media accounts, repeatedly, bouncing back and forth from the blank page to twitter, from the desk to the coffee pot, from the fork to the refrigerator. 

Then I decide to file my nails, heat up some soup, grab a sweatshirt, start a load of laundry, scour the kitchen sink. You get the picture. Eventually I run out of distractions, settle into the work, and before you know it I find myself walking on the surface of the pond, panicked, overwhelmed, when something takes my hand, and I'm rescued from a sure drowning. I lose track of time more then I'll admit, I forget to think, and instead I start writing what I hear. It's extraordinary.
At this time in my life, I cannot afford to be sidetracked by the trivial. If I am going to write about people, there needs to be some depth, some honor, something bothering on nobility. And that's what I found in the lives of [people] whose love for others propels me to love deeper. Phil Callaway
The morning after one of these obscure writing sessions, I start looking around for an exorcist, only to be dumbfounded by the words that landed on the page. "The impossible still happens, often during the work, sometimes when we are so tired that inadvertently we let down all the barriers we have built up. We lose our adult skepticism and become once again children who can walk down their grandmother's winding stairs without touching," Madeleine L' Engle. For me, that's as good as it gets. 

How about you? Add a few "confessions of a writer" in the comments. Is it love or merely infatuation?

When I'm not writing for Across the Board, I'm Living in the Gap, drop by anytime, we'll rearrange the trinkets on the shelves. 

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