Each month I try to clean up my inbox by hitting unsubscribe to groups, companies, people who send me too much email, or email that has no value in enriching my life. I have often gone to unclick from Oprah emails. Telling myself that I do not need to be told how to live every facet of my life by Oprah, yet I always find myself unable to stop. I have lowered the frequency, but always find at least one nugget of information a month, that somehow makes my life better, soothes my soul, or teaches me about myself.

Here is this month’s nugget….

O: What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Mary Gaitskill: The best thing about writing is being able to clearly express things in a way you can’t express in conversation. This is especially true if you are socially awkward and a little inarticulate, which I was when I first started to write seriously (at age 23) and is still how I occasionally feel. In countless conversations I have had, someone has said something and I have had several responses at once, sometimes responses that were nonverbal, coming to me in confused masses of feeling, images, and half-formed thoughts that I could not refine into words until, say, sometime the next day. Anything I did say would feel partial to me and often sounded just plain dumb.

Writing is in some way being able to sit down the next day and go through everything you wanted to say, finding the right words, giving shape to the images, and linking them to feelings and thoughts. It isn’t exactly like a social conversation because you aren’t giving information in the usual sense of the word or flirting or persuading anyone of anything or proving a point; it’s more that you are revealing something whole in the form of a character, a city, a moment, an image seen in a flash out of a character’s eyes. It’s being able to take something whole and fiercely alive that exists inside you in some unknowable combination of thought, feeling, physicality, and spirit, and to then store it like a genie in tense, tiny black symbols on a calm white page. If the wrong reader comes across the words, they will remain just words. But for the right readers, your vision blooms off the page and is absorbed into their minds like smoke, where it will re-form, whole and alive, fully adapted to its new environment. It is a deeply satisfying feeling.

These words were like a morning-glory, lifting off the page for me to smell as I took in all the senses and emotions she was trying to convey. She captured EXACTLY how I feel about writing.

‘If the wrong reader comes across the words, they will remain just words. But for the right readers, your vision blooms off the page and is absorbed into their minds like smoke, where it will re-form, whole and alive, fully adapted to its new environment. It is a deeply satisfying feeling.’

I love blogging and writing. Given the chance to write full-time as my job, I would. I can express myself better in words written on paper, on a computer screen, better than I can in *real* life.

The simple act of running writes the story of my life. Thank you for coming along my journey and for reading my words. 

Comments

  1. Amanda@runninghood says:

    I feel so much the same Dorothy! I was just thinking about how much writing fills my soul and calms me. My friend mentioned how much time blogging must take and I explained to her that writing the blog doesn't take the time…that comes naturally…quick and easy…from the heart. Whatever is on my mind. What takes time is responding to comments, commenting, reading…other things that you need to do to build a successful blog. But yes, writing, just to write and in different ways is truly a "Soul Food" for me! And I didn't watch Oprah a ton but she definitely has some major wisdom and inspiration out there. Like the part of her last episode (only part I watched) about Things she knows by heart…all about how we all have our own platform/gift to share with the world and the important thing is that we are doing what we are called to do.

  2. indyhumes says:

    "If the wrong reader comes across the words, they will remain just words. But for the right readers, your vision blooms off the page and is absorbed into their minds like smoke, where it will re-form, whole and alive, fully adapted to its new environment. It is a deeply satisfying feeling."
    This is my favorite quote and I am going to copy it…so good PS I write for an online magazine..maybe you should send a query. Its http://www.ungrind.org
    http://www.allpointswhole.wordpress.com

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Awww… great post Dorothy. I feel the same way you do about writing, and I knew I wanted to be a writer since age 7. I get to do a lot of it in my job, but it's not personal expression. I think you write very eloquently.

  4. Kerrie T. says:

    This is what I always say when I'm talking to people: "I'm much better at writing than speaking." Writing gives me the opportunity to really think about what I'm going to say. And if, when it comes out on the page and sounds dumb, then I can change it. So, yeah, I sound dumb in real life.

    I have to say…having been a journalist, a corporate writer, a copywriter, and of course, a blogger — there are many different types of writing. There are some things I don't like about writing. But that is for a different day.

  5. Jess K says:

    Wow. Seriously just had a conversation (or attempted to) with my boyfriend about this last night. I was trying to explain to him why I can write for hours but can't stand to be on the phone for more than 5 minutes and even then don't get across exactly what I want.

    Thank YOU for sharing your story with US!

  6. Running Moose says:

    Awesome! I loved reading those two paragraphs! I have learned to remain consciously silent during conversations until I have found the words I needed to express myself. I often remain silent during group conversations just taking in everything that was being said, giving my brain, and my heart, time to digest it properly. Writing has always given me that opportunity, whether shared or not, to properly express myself. Though I do not write as much as I used to, I still make sure I find the time once in a while to ponder the thoughts running through my brain and to write them out. Running also gives me that time to go through my thoughts as well as helping pass the time when some runs seem a bit harder than others. The reason why I started my running blog a few months ago was because I didn't have anyone to talk to about running, so I started my blog to write my own thoughts about running and I plan on using it for that for a long time, followers or not.

I love a good comment!

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