I arrive at my Blog today questioning what I am going to write. I think I need to write about writing itself. Writing has always been a joy for me. I have always considered using language an art form. It has been a way for me to work through something on my mind. It has also been a way for me to entertain, teach and amuse my readers. It has been a way for me to expose and heal my own depths.
While I lived in Faribault, Minnesota I had been having lots of fun writing about food; passing on knowledge, recipes and learned methods, and having lots of fun with a myriad of 'food subjects' for a publication named Southern Minnesota Scene. Then my Beloved was in the process of passing into the next World. I found my writing was a way for me to identify the anguish I was feeling; to name it; to look at it and examine it. I needed to see it at my depth so I could move through it. My Editor indulged me.
When I moved to this wonderful and spiritual community of Asheville, North Carolina I wanted and needed to continue with my writing. I engaged with a beautiful magazine called Plough to Pantry (yea food!). I offered to donate my services to this fledgling publication to establish myself as a local writer. Win-win, right?
This experience ended up transforming my writing. But not in a positive way. Before I knew it my writing had lost its color. The Editor I was working with worked under 'very strict' journalistic rules: who, what, where, when, how; right down to the lone comma. And very strict 'word-count' rules. This was all understandable for a brand new entity building its structure. I thought it would be good for my writing. I thought it would help me be a more succinct and forceful writer. It did not.
The Southern Minnesota Scene called and asked if I would take on a project remotely. I was delighted! I plunged into my research to create what I thought would be a much better piece of writing than I had provided for them in the past.
Wrong. I lost my ability to put myself, my personality, my voice into my writing. I was succinct with a capital "S"! I realized this two ways: 1. my former Editor (who is a caring and genuine man) did not use my submission, and 2. another very talented writer read some of my writing (a book I am writing-more on that later) and commented that there was no 'voice' in my story. My former Editor said nothing to me. My former Editor still paid me for my story. My former Editor wrote the story himself. Did I say he is a caring and genuine man? That other very talented writer woke me up!
I think this experience (or Epiphany, if you will!) will actually end up making me a better writer though. Before I would just write. Now I just write and review and rewrite and tweak and reread and make constant use of a thesaurus. I think I'm back! And I think better than ever!