Thursday, May 9, 2019


By Cheryl Oreglia 
“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” Sylvia Plath
As far back as I can remember I've always enjoyed writing. As a kid I wrote silly poems, and then short stories. I thought everyone did the same thing, but when I began adulting, I realized writing isn't for everyone. In fact some people hate writing so much they avoid it at all costs. No wonder texting is so popular? 

I allowed my voice to be silenced for years, afraid to honestly write the things I was feeling and experiencing, because I thought people would think I was insane. Although E.L. Doctorow says, “writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” I looked around my life, living in the suburbs with a dog, cat, four kids, a husband, and thought what the hell could I write about? I was doing my best to keep everyone fed and in clean underwear. 

It seemed like I spent half my day in the car and the other half in dishes, clothing, toilets, floors, and refrigerators. I didn't leave the house without a diaper bag, box of Cheerios, and full cup of coffee for a decade. This was not the fertile soil of a writer. Or was it?

There are millions of writers in the world, each occupying their own niche, putting out high quality papers, essays, stories, poems, blogs, screenplays, etc., but very few comparatively make money. This is the most underpaid profession ever, I'm a word whore, with an abusive editor. The woes of writing...

How could I justify spending all this time typing words into a computer when I could be doing just about anything else and earn a 'good' living? Selling tupperware, painting addresses onto the curb, modeling for Victoria Secrets (kidding). I had options.

Nevertheless, "the idea of writing begin to take hold, to gnaw and to push and to build until, like a pressure cooker full of fresh corn, it started to leak out in sprays of hissing steam," Nancy Slonim Aronie. And as Nancy states pressure cookers explode if you ignore them. 

Instead, I ignored the naysayers, and started writing. “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you," says Maya Angelou. The early stuff was sort of like an appetizer, something nice that goes well with a glass of wine, but I kept at it, and some of my later work has a little more meat to it. Hopefully my next phase will be a decadent dessert that compliments a nice pour of port. 

Writers have to write. That is all there is to it. Sometimes I sit down to an empty page and wish my skeletal words would bloom like the foliage around me. After sprinkling a recent post with a few dehydrated phrases, I put it away, half expecting it to open like a tulip overnight. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on says Louis L'Amour. There is no magic, open the computer, and let it flow.

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect,” says Anais Nin. I'm sure that's true but it sounds a lot like indigestion. Browsing through my life for material, I scan the memories, searching for some sort of deeper meaning embedded in the yarn, but sometimes a ball of yarn, is simply a ball of yarn.

Writing is most peculiar, I'm attracted to the mystery of the written word, but it's often evasive, and much of the time is spent editing, deleting, scrounging around in the gutter for just the right term. I've learned the simplest, most concise, and painfully clear word is usually the best choice. And then we have Mark Twain who says,  “substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” 

I'm damn excited about writing. How about you? When did you get started?

When I'm not writing for Across the Board, I'm Living in the Gap, drop by anytime, we'll quibble with words.


Carrie Beckort said...

I didn't start writing until I was an adult. My brother was the writer of the family. I was busy taking Physics II while he was having fun reading the dictionary and taking a class titled Words, Words, Words. I guess something rubbed off -- it just took a few years to surface. Oh, and I'd have to use damn to replace 'just'...

Cheryl Oreglia said...

I’m so glad you got turned on to writing Carrie! The world needs your words, your stories, your wisdom! Nevertheless it is an odd passion and one that requires just about everything from the author, blood, sweat, and tears! Thanks for the comment.

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