I love to write. I’m serious: I absolutely love it. I think about it morning, noon, and night; look forward to that special time with just me, my imagination, and my Mac; talk about it, dream about it, write about it. The only things I love more (in no particular order, maybe): husband, children, family, friends, skydiving (yes, I do, but that’s a completely different post), my thesaurus, and my dictionaries (Oxford English and American Heritage, of course). Maybe chocolate and coffee should be on that list, I’m not sure, but when you consider all the things to love in life, it’s a pretty short list. Writing rocks.
Ultimately, I enjoy creative writing more than any other. (If you’re interested or you’re married to me, you should check out my fiction tab; that’s directed at you, dear, that is, if you’ve finally started following my blog.) But I truly love to write anything: school excuses, e-mails, shopping lists, patient notes (I’m a physician assistant), blog entries, short stories, my blossoming novel, letters, texts. (To be honest, I’m not too wild about tweeting, as 140 characters is never enough; letters and punctuation are too much fun! Sorry, Twitter.) If it has letters in it, I love it. Except Twitter. But I already said that. Too much coffee this morning.
At the suggestion of a fellow writer, I’m reading Roy Peter Clark’s The Glamor of Grammar. It’s a page-turner. I mean it. My husband thinks I’m looney; so do most of my friends who don’t write. But the only things that even come close to the thrill of writing are reading and talking about writing. I know it might sound crazy, but it’s true. Try it sometime, if you haven’t already. (If you’ve read this far, you probably understand exactly what I’m saying.) I’m taking an online fiction workshop through Gotham Writer’s Workshop (www.writingclasses.com); it isn’t cheap, but it’s been so enriching and fun. I’m down to like six hours of sleep a night to keep up with it. Luckily it’s only ten weeks, but I’m already saving up for Fiction II! (Don’t worry, I take naps, too.)
Writing is really an extraordinary art. You start with a blank page or screen and end up with just about anything: characters who grow into trusted friends; towns that become as familiar as home; animals with attitudes; wizards with wands; vampires with sex drives; regular people with unique stories; regular stories told by unique people; instructions on how to make a soufflé; a passionate love letter; vicious hate mail (don’t do that, because it’s an abuse of the alphabet); a prescription for health; directions to a beach house; a tribute to a best friend, or your spouse, or your children, or your craft; a political argument; a political agreement (maybe?); heroes who amaze you; villains who invade your nightmares. OK, maybe that isn’t so cool, but in what other endeavor can you take absolutely nothing but the thoughts in your mind, and create something so tangible, it can move you to giggles and tears, anger and adoration, knowledge and insight, with just the turn of a page? OK, maybe music comes close. OK definitely music, but I can’t read or write music. But I’m impressed with anyone who can!
When I read something I’ve written well, I get a runner’s high. I can’t think of any other way to describe it. And since I can’t run any more (total hip replacement three years ago, again, another post someday), this is how I exercise my neuroendocrine system now. I guess it’s how I’ve always exercised it when I wasn’t sweating on a ten-miler. And I smell much better after “exercising” this way. Well, usually. Sometimes it does get intense.
As a former runner and a current skydiver, I know a thing or two about natural highs. (I know, crazy that I can skydive with a titanium hip but not run, but I don’t make the rules, and I haven’t exactly admitted this activity to my orthopedic surgeon, but I digress . . .) The sensation strikes your body like a jolt, but then melts into a warmth and feeling of wellbeing that illuminates you from the inside out. Light flows out of your pores, your eyes, your entire essence, and you feel like a magician. And frankly, when you think about it, as a writer–whether you’ve authored an e-mail, a sick note to the principal, a recipe, a news article, a blog entry, a novel–you are one. Cool, huh? You bet. Seriously.