S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Essentials on Writing

On a roll . . .
When someone is totally engaged and every aspect of the self is working well, it is a natural high. In more general terms, when writers' bodies, minds, spirits and hearts are all working together, they lose track of where they are, lose track of time, feel like they are "cooking," or "lost" in their work. Some of my most favorite writers, whom I cite in the following paragraphs, surely must have this experience occasionally.
And I have known this feeling once in a while when one of my poems is "writing itself." And, since I have converted from paper and pencil to computer writing, I became aware that I was feeling a bit bereft while my computer was down a few days ago. There is a reason for this feeling of loss when not writing for a writer.
My favorite literary blogger, Maud Newton, sometimes alludes to this author's phenomena in her posts. I speculate that Molly Ivins and Maureen Dowd may experience this feeling as they write. They must know when some really good writing is happening. All aspects of the Self - body, mind and spirit - are engaged.
Writing, from body point of view, is like walking. And it is a way to get from here to there, mentally, as well. Parenthetically, a benefit of computer writing, as opposed to paper and pencil, is that I edit much more thoroughly and quickly. I am not so wedded to saving the words, (resisting editing) as when I had the paper with all those hard won, precious words in my hands. My product is better as a result. Writing, in the manner of working with my hands, produces something of value that is useful.
James Lileks is writer as worker and devoted father, freely expressing his love for his little girl. Markos Moulitsas ZĂșniga, Daily Kos is perhaps one of the premier bloggers in the blogosphere, and is a good but not great writer, in my opinion. His "product" has significant standing in the blogosphere, a model for success.
For my mind, writing is an essential part of "ordering" my day. Self expression, a manifestation of the creative impulse, is a central to the human experience. Our minds are fertile fields from which flowers or weeds grow. We just have to "get it out." Very often sanity comes in the speaking of it. Saying it makes sense of nonsense.
Rosie O'Donnell uses her mind (and her heart) for her very creative style of blogging, which makes her site a very popular one. Steve Clemons has an excellent mind which he uses to advantage to write The Washington Note, one of my essential political blogs.
Writing from the spirit is the hardest part. Self-censoring and lack of confidence sometimes prevent me from writing spontaneously. Much of the time the first raw draft has the freshest seeds of creativity. Editing can help; over-editing is the enemy of creativity. Each of us who writes for fun or profit knows when it is good and when it is barely adequate. Listening to the spirit is our best guide.
"Lorianne," Dr. Lorianne DiSabato, is an English professor. She calls herself a place blogger; she writes from her spirit (a Zen spirit, incidentally). One of my favorite contributors to the TPM Cafe site calls himself cscs; he has a fierce political spirit that he uses with great effectiveness in making his openly partisan points. He does a wonderful job of reinforcing my own biases. I suspect we all love it when that happens.
From the heart, I try to write in such a way that I honor my authentic self. Being authentic is risky, but it gets easier as I have gotten older. The decades provide me with a win/loss record that increases my level of courage to be honest. Feelings, emotions, hunches, honesty and soul inform those writings that we intuit are good work. That kind of writing grabs us as readers and keeps us engaged.
"Bobby Farouk" writes from his heart, expressing his authentic self in unique and powerful ways. Wil Wheaton writes from his heart, freely expressing sentiment, and has been a popular blogger because of that. Author Damian McNichols bloggs honestly and heartfully, and is currently stretching himself as an author from novelist to playwright.
Body, mind, spirit and heart coming together is what makes a piece of writing wildly successful. I love to read, and I think I must have recognized the power of the printed word from early on. My maternal grandmother, Mollie, herself a writer, must have known that about me. For my 7th birthday, she gave me a child's dictionary. It was a thick 8"x 10" book, with the medium size Times New Roman font, and I just loved it. I wonder what ever happened to it.
At this moment I have in my sight a Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, Roget's Thesaurus, Webster's Compact Rhyming Dictionary, and The Wordbook (for misspellers). Printed words, all, the nuts and bolts of it, still at my fingertips. It is good to get back to writing.


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