The Writerly Habit

This blog is about my struggles to get into the habit of writing regularly.

Dreaming about Your Writing

I've been reading Louise DeSalvo's Writing as a Way of Healing for a few weeks now. Last night, I was reading about how authors may dream about their work. The kind of writing DeSalvo is talking about is personal narrative that relates emotion and events.

For me, I have never dreamed about my work. I've never felt that kind of connection. A few weeks ago, I decided I would write a memoir about my first marriage. I hadn't thought about it since then, or so I thought. Last night, after I read the section on writers dreaming, I had a dream about it.

It was strange, I was on a cruise ship and put through an express line for check-in. There at the other end was my ex-husband only it looked nothing like him. The dream him was way better looking. Anyway, we were being offered $100,000 to get married again. We decided to go ahead with it and if we hated each other and had to get a divorce on our return then at least we had the money. Weird.

Anyway, check out DeSalvo's book. It is excellent. She also recommends a book called Writers Dreaming. I haven't read it by it's a penny on Amazon so what could it hurt.

Giving Yourself Room to Write

So I'm sitting at my perpetually cluttered desk feeling particularly uninspired. Admittedly, I am horribly messy when it comes to my desk. Part of it is laziness, I don't want to put away things I will need again in the immediate future (also because things tend to get lost when I do). Part is that I have no idea where to put things. I have so much junk/papers/books/pens it is overwhelming. It just seems that I have trouble getting my thoughts straight when it is in such a disastrous state. As I prepare to clean my desk off the words of my writing teacher come back to me: remember to give yourself room to write. Whether it is a desk or the coffee table make sure that you honor your work by keeping the space clean. Not only will you be more likely to write, you'll be more likely to consider your work valid. Happy cleaning!

On a side note, some people work well with a messy desk. If you like a little chaos just make sure it is the right kind. Keep candy wrappers and other garbage out of your space.

The Death of Cursive Writing?

In a recent ABC news article, it was suggested that cursive writing is becoming obsolete in the classroom. Since penmanship (supposedly) does not increase past the third grade, there is no reason to continue to teach it. Most schools require homework to be typed, not handwritten. Here's my thought, even if penmanship peaks, if you never hand write anything your writing will get worse. You'll get rusty. Second, what kind of children are we raising? For me, I write all of my work longhand. There is a mind-hand connection there that really started to develop in junior high/high school. My writing is more fluid and I connect with my subject matter easier. What happens to these kids who don't have the same connection but are instead plunked down in front of a computer? I can't imagine not being able to fill out paperwork, write a check, address an envelope, write a letter, sign my name or write in a journal. Handwriting is unique, don't believe me? Check out any graphology site. You can tell a lot about a person just by their handwriting.

We're already shifting away from reading books in the classroom. Some schools require laptops and when a teacher asks a question, kids are asked to Google it and see what everyone came up with. While this is useful for teaching kids how to find good sources on the internet, it is not a good daily practice. By using the computer screen, kids learn how to scan and pick out keywords. They don't learn how to read longer sections and come up with original thoughts based on it. I just wonder what this is going to do to literacy rates and also what kind of writers will come out of this next generation.

Book Review: Wounds of Passion

Wounds of Passion was written by bell hooks as a memoir of her writing life. It is framed by her childhood experiences and a ten year relationship with another poet named Mack. The book is written as a hermit crab (as well as collage) lyric essay, wherein things that are painful to confront are often written in third person. The remainder is written in first person. This shift to third person also helps you to see into hook's character, more than first person (as it can be emotionally involving). I saw myself in a lot of her struggles and pain.

After reading it, I walked away with the sense that I truly was a writer. She doesn't have the overly ambitious I-write-sixteen-hours-a-day hyped up media image work ethic. Instead, she works for short amounts of time but is totally focused and pushes. I like her approach with this book and I think you will too. If anything, it is a beautiful model of the hermit crab and how it can be used to hang an entire novel. An interesting side note, she also mentions how certain subjects choose you. You can read more about this in my previous post.