writer's goo

writer's block is horribly misnamed. it isn't always the case that there is something standing in the way of you and the writing. it sometimes happens that the relationship between thought and writing is too little that incoherence is the only result.

michael (a participant from the rikers oral history project) said it best when he talked about writing as not so much difficult to do as it was hard to pin down. i find that's the case these days when i've completed one looming writing assignment, two revisions; i have two concrete pieces still ahead; and many more starts of ideas that will hopefully become full pieces someday. but at the moment, i am caught in a cycle of writing a bit of everything and long periods of everything BUT writing.

one of those things has to do with completing the novel "love walked in" by marisa de los santos. the way she uses words to describe emotions and characters' thoughts makes me excited about the possibilities of writing to do interesting work in the world. i loved both her use of language and the story she told. and yet, i find myself continuing to be mired in goo.

but i digress... de los santos writes her adolescent girl character - clare - with depth, integrity and complexity that feels rare in adult-based discussions of youth. yes, this is a novel, but it has implications for the dimensions we choose to pay attention to and document about the young people with whom we talk, laugh, learn, work, etc... in one moment, she describes how clare sees a quilt resting on the back of an armchair and takes a second to run her hand over the quilt before sitting in the chair - she does so, de los santos tells us, because she wouldn't want something so beautiful to feel it's beauty and place had been overlooked simply because someone was looking for a place to sit.

of course, the author's words are more precise and eloquent, but this one paragraph reminded me that actions, even small ones, have consequence, weight, importance. this point can get lost in the flurry of taking attendance, class discussions, checking homework, and the like...

1 comment:

Marc Lamont Hill said...

if anybody feels you it's me!!!! i spend the bulk of my time doing everything but writing. whenever i look at those wildly productive people, i wonder if they feel the same way about themselves that we do. maybe they feel like they could do more too!?!?!?!? or maybe i'm just trying to make myself feel better again. oh well, that's enough thinking for the day. back to the sanford and son marathon