Veronique Darwin

Where are you if you’re not writing?

In Thoughts on Writing on May 4, 2013 at 4:51 pm

I asked the question to my mind, a separate piece of myself that writes everything I’ve written: where are you if you’re not writing? It shrugged, whispered excuses. It told me it had just been coming up with things.

Is writing a writing-thing, or is it a thinking-thing? Is writing what you do when you put words down or when you come up with them? I know when I think about myself writing I don’t just see myself producing – that would be heartbreaking, that I am a machine – but I see myself creating a world. I actually picture dreaming a lot more like writing than I do writing an email, than I do writing an essay.

I dream up worlds every night. In this world there is this house and there is this person I’ve never seen before. I’m me but I know this house and I know this person and I’m existing within these bounds. Are these alternate realities? Did I just make up a house? A person?

I pride myself in my dreams; I see them as my unconscious brain practicing. But don’t you dream, you who aren’t necessarily a writer? Are we all writing, every night, and only some of us taking the time to put it down?

Autumn-Dream-stock5511-large

(image from http://www.officialpsds.com)

Words are such a sorry excuse for text. It’s why our love for them is a rarity, why the people who love words are a minority. How can you love a thing like that, something we all had to learn in primary school?

But I think people are falling in love with ideas again, and with text to describe them. I haven’t been alive for more decades than two but I noticed that Twitter is a thing and that it wasn’t one before. People are so excited to share their ideas through these words, words that are broken up into smaller bits called characters. People are expressing themselves through characters, making up worlds in 180 of them. And we love it! We eat it up! Are we all literary?

I die when I’m not writing, I die because every piece of me that is writing at every moment isn’t getting any satisfaction. It says something, that to be thinking but not writing isn’t writing. It says that the hand and the pen, or the fingers and the keyboard, have something, some very small thing to do with it.

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