This year, if I remember nothing else, I will remember this:
It’s only words.
I don’t mean to quote any songs here, and apologise if you’ve now got an earworm you could do without. But I find it’s easy to build up this writing business into something difficult and serious, when it should be fun. (For someone who loves to laugh, I can get ever so serious.)
I’m not saying writing’s not important. But if we tell ourselves too often that it’s important and that what we write (and whether we write) matters, we can end up with brainfreeze as well as earworms.
When I remember that they’re only words, the words seem to flow more easily.
I watch a small blonde girl playing. She picks up a fallen leaf in each hand and studies them. She waves them over her head. She shreds one to see how small she can make the pieces. She skips and she laughs.
I was a small blonde girl once. I’m going out to play in the leaves. All work and no play is no good for anyone. It’s playtime.
We can all get a bit too serious about our writing sometimes. Especially me, with my introspection and my close-up views of everyday life. (Although I’m not sure I agree with Socrates that “An unexamined life is not worth living” – but there I go again, getting all serious. And giving you the impression that I’ve read the works of Socrates. I haven’t; it’s one of those quotes I picked up along life’s merry way and then merrily disagreed with.)
The digression illustrates my point, though. Getting too serious makes life – and writing – a bit dull, frankly. Here’s a much more cheerful quote which I’ve just come across in Chop Wood Carry Water. (I know I mentioned this book last time. I still haven’t actually read it; opening it randomly is working for me at the moment!)
Laughter is tremendously healthy. Playfulness is as sacred as any prayer, or maybe more sacred than any prayer, because playfulness, laughter, singing, dancing will relax you. And the truth is only possible in a relaxed state of being.
And isn’t writing all about showing the truth?