Sunday, October 19, 2008

Blogging as a Way to Quench the Fire

Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case.
-Annie Dillard

There are days when I just cannot wait to pull out the laptop and begin working though a new topic for an essay or blog entry. The urge to write is unpredictable; I might hear a story, read an essay, or bump into an idea during a conversation. The urge forces me to confront and wrestle with the new concept until I have made it my own.

I always blamed this urge on my suspicion that I have at least a little Obsessive Compulsive Disorder within. A better (or, at least, alternate) explanation emerges from a recent interview with Poetry Magazine publisher, Christian Wiman. Mr. Wiman talks about how the writer (in his case, the poet) finds relief only when he or she completes the work:

“If you have that particular fire in your head (to paraphrase Yeats), it’s going to play practical havoc with your life. It’s going to require a lot of the emotional energy that you might be giving to other people, it’s going to afflict you at odd and unpredictable times, and it’s going to afford no compensation except for the sweet relief you feel when, as a poem finds its form, that fire goes out. What a relief that is, though, and how close to the very center of being itself you can feel at that moment.”

Despite my amateur status in the writing world, I have known the anxiety of an undeveloped thought. Now I also know that I am not alone.

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