Monday, August 24, 2015

Jane Yolen - On the Writing Life

Another wonderful quote from Jane Yolen, the Hans Christian Anderson of the United States of America:

Today I want to talk about the Everyday-ness of writing. How the extraordinary must become ordinary.
Just as I do my morning exercises to get these old bones moving, I write every day. Every single day. Sometimes it's a chapter, sometimes it's a poem. Sometimes I make lists of things: nouns, verse to revise, ideas for new books, suggestions for stories with my children (in case you haven't been paying attention, they are all writers!).
Even if I am ill, traveling, caring for a sick husband, running around a convention, walking the Royal Mile--even then I will manage to write something. Because being a writer means that kind of commitment. It doesn't have to be something for publication (though what does get published is almost always a surprise.) It i something to get the brain, the heart, the imagination, and the fingers coordinated, working together. Not strangers but a good team.
After my big back operation, part of my recovery was to walk a mile (or more) a day. As the amazing nurse Donna explained it to me: if you walk a mile at a good steady pace (mine is fast) outside, taking in the fresh oxygen, your spinal fluid moves up and down oiling the spine. Well, that's what writing every day does. It keeps the fluid moving about our brain, oiling its parts. Writing needs such fluidity.
Yes, life happens. It interrupts all our careful plans. A person from Porlock, an auto accident, a shooter in the movie theater, or more happily twins born, a friend stopping in for tea, your book winning the Caldecott, your editor calling to say you won the Nebula, your agent messaging that you sold a book, falling in love.
But the bottomest of lines is this: if you are a writer, you write. And you turn all of life's hiccups into poetry or prose.
How lucky are we--accidents, incidents, handicaps, heartbreaks all become research, become prompts. So don't ignore them, but use them. Every day.
Every single glorious, bloody day.

(quoted from a Facebook Post on Monday, August 24, 2015.)

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