((Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings))
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I had a crazy dream last night: I was eaten up by a giant leather-bound book in a Hogwarts-like library.
Two interpretations surfaced over the course of the day. Dame Margaret H. Willison thought it was a reminder about a “monstrously overdue library book,” while I wondered if perhaps my subconscious is telling me to start my novel already.
The thing is, I’ve never had an overdue charge on my library cards — so perhaps my subconscious is trying to get my started on my Giant Writing Project.
The thing is, in my family saying you can write is pretty much like saying you can breathe. We all have our own unique way with words, but we can all write eloquently in the styles for which we have a knack. Add that to the inescapable fact that we are descended from the family of José Rizal – hero of the Philippines, father of nationalism in Southeast Asia, and the man who penned the novel that started the uprising against Spanish colonialism in the Philippines – and it’s probably easier to understand now why none of us has ever been able to actually write a book.
I mean, come on: with that kind of legacy, you’re never quite up to snuff even if your magnum opus isn’t meant to be the catalyst to nation-wide insurrection.
In my furiously-scribbling family, I’m the free spirit narrator who’s trying to find the meaning in everyday occurrences (hence my tagline, “Chronicles of the Significant Human Experience”) because that’s where I believe the best stories lie. I know there’s a novel somewhere inside me; I feel a twinge every once in a while that urges me to sit down and, as Derrick Jensen said:
“Tap a vein and let it bleed onto the page.”
Considering the fact that Hemingway also shares a similar view on what a written work actually is (he’s the one who said that bit about how writing is just being able to bleed whilst seated at the typewriter, right?), it’s pretty easy to see that writing anything noteworthy is more complicated than knowing what words mean and how to string them together into a sentence.
Writing in order to capture something truly meaningful and significant is one thing, but writing in order to convince others that one’s perception is worth considering as truly meaningful and significant is a different beast altogether.
How do you write something that the world can relate to when you stand on the opposite side of so many boundaries?
How to you write a story that people will want to read when hardly anyone is even interested anymore in the real lives happening all around them outside of their iThings?
Hence, why I’ve been focusing on this blog lately more so than the novel I’ve been trying to write for years. Truth might be stranger than fiction, but it is also immensely beautiful and always worth telling — and somewhere in all these lives I’m trying to share and connect, I’ll find the thread that will turn into the yarn of that blasted, elusive book hiding inside my soul. And once I find it, I shall wrestle it into submission and give my blood to birng to life whatever characters it may cradle inside.