The other day I was reading some more in Madeleine L’Engle’s Walking on Water, (one of these days I’ll actually finish it) and she was talking about the writing process. She said that sometimes you just have to write no matter how you feel. Whether you’re inspired to or not. Because if you don’t write because you don’t feel like it, you won’t accomplish much. It’s a lot like prayer. You have to go ahead and pray whether you feel like it or not.
I found that really encouraging, mainly because I’ve seen the truth of it. Look at these ponderings. I started this back in December, and I’m still going strong. It’s not that I want a pat on the back or anything, I’m just marveling at how much I’ve written, whether I wanted to or not. Some days you don’t know what to write, and you just have to sit down and do it. The volumes of ponderings (all archived for your convenience) are proof of what happens when you write no matter how you feel. Some days it turned out pretty crappy. But I like to think that some days I touched upon something.
I find this encouraging as a writer. Even tonight, I didn’t really know what to say when I sat down. But something comes out, and that’s what it’s about.
How long has it been since you’ve climbed a tree? You cling to the rough bark and feel your muscles flex as you pull yourself up, writhing and swinging like a disjointed monkey, dirtying your hands with nature. I climbed up there and realized fear. Have you ever been scared while climbing a tree? That’s what happens when you lose the child like freedom. How will I get down? What if I fall? I can just see my foot slipping and my body painfully slamming into the trunk as I frantically grasp for a branch. How odd that so long ago as a little child that never worried me. Falling never crossed my mind. The fear of pain or failure was never there. Yes, the pain did come, a scraped leg or a bruise on my elbow, but it never stopped me. Now I look at my hands and see scratches. I feel the tender pain on the palm of my hand from scraping against the tree-and I like it. Later I went back to that tree, and climbed it again. I scratched my hands some more, but this time I felt the child like freedom. I stopped at a branch and enjoyed the new found perspective. The wind blew, and I could feel the massive tree sway, I could see the ground far below me moving. But I kept climbing heavenward. I want to climb trees like a child. I want to climb dreams like a child. I don’t want to live life safely with two feet planted firmly on the ground. I want to feel the sting in my hand and know that the blood is flowing and I am soaring.
Today I spent almost the entire day working my tail off on homework. Considering I spent most of last night doing the same thing, it gets to be rather exhausting. But I got a lot done, so that’s good. You know the one thing I hate about being a writing major? Writing crappy papers. Since I’m a writing major there’s this feeling that everything I write has to make people stop and go, “wow.” But sometimes you have these papers that you could care less about and you just have to crank them out. I was doing that yesterday. Now it’s not like they’re bad papers. By normal standards they’re decent. I’ll probably end up getting an A on them. But if these were for a writing class, I think I’d go crawl in a hole. I suppose you have to get the bad writing out of your system somewhere. And you can’t poor your heart and soul into every little report about the impacts on the graphic design field by the legendary Paul Rand. I think you’d burn out pretty quickly if you did. Oh well, that just bothers me.
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