Monday, June 25, 2007

pre-writing.

Once again I feel the need to blog even though I'm not sure what I'll say. What is this curious desire to write? What is it that pulls me back, over and over again, to this little blue blogger box? I suppose, in part, it is to make sense of the thoughts rattling around in my head and, in part, to connect with the people I now consider my friends. Asking myself "why do I write?" is sort of a stupid question, but it is one of those questions that most writers/artists/thinkers seem to enjoy (including myself). It is like asking: why do I eat or breathe or shower? Well...there are worse addictions one could have.

At the moment I am sitting outside. The twittery sound of birdsong is louder than the whir of distant freeway traffic, but just barely. The dogs are asleep at my feet and I can feel the grass between my toes. It is hot out, but I am sitting in the shade of 3 pine trees. The cup of coffee sitting next to me is holding down a stack of essays that I am about to start working on. I know I've already written about this scene--but it is becoming such a familiar one--this probably won't be the last time I describe it to you. This here, is what I call "pre-writing." I thank Peter Elbow for teaching me this, and Natalie Goldberg, too. But anyway...

Yes, I am still working on my thesis. It seems hard to believe that I have not finished it yet...but it is not so bad anymore. I am almost done with it and, these days, I actually look forward to the time I am able to carve out in order to work on it. This is my sacred time (Mondays) and, despite difficulties, I let nothing get in the way of it. As another writer-friend likes to say: I'm on "sacred cow time."

Sometimes I wonder what I will do when I am finally done with my thesis. What will I write about when I no longer have a destination for my writing? In daydreams concerning topics such as this, I usually imagine myself writing short nonfiction pieces for publication (or not for publication (whichever). I am no longer bent on proving myself). In writing my thesis, one thing that I've learned about myself in terms of writing is that I am truly in love with the genre of creative nonfiction. Often, when applying for grad school, you get to choose from one of three categories: fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. I've always waffled back and forth between poetry and nonfiction, never knowing where I best fit. Now I realize that I am a healthy combination of both--but my first and truest love is in creating prose. I derive great pleasure from crafting a good sentence. I am in love with punctuation and word choice, rhythm and rhyme and long stretches of syllables that extend from one side of the page to the other until, finally, an entire paragraph is formed, and then another and another and another. In this way, I am able to transform miniature moments into something that can be shared. I don't really care about getting published so much as I like the idea of my writing having a place in the world, a destination. After all, it feels good to have a purpose in life, don't you think? It feels good to have a "home," a place for things to rest or be received--on more levels than one.

Completing my degree will, in many ways, take the weight off of things--but, without grades or deadlines or the incentive of finally attaining a diploma, what will drive my work? From where will I excavate ample amounts of focus and inspiration? Frankly, I find this thought mildly intoxicating. I am excited to see where I end up once on my own. But let me not forget:
"The journey is the destination." ~Dan Eldon

9 comments:

paris parfait said...

Jessie, I've missed you! The prospects post-thesis can be quite intoxicating - surely you will continue to write in one form or another, as you have a real talent. xo

deirdre said...

I can only agree with Tara...your writing talent is immense, and I'm sure it will find a home from which to create anything you choose.

Spiky Zora Jones said...

Hey Jessie...you're almost there. You've worked on this to perfection and it's beautiful.

As far as your future, you write beautifully. I am hoping to one day read your novels, your book of poetry and maybe novellas.

Later Jessie.

ruby said...

i'm so proud of you jessie!

Loralee Choate said...

I know why you feel compelled to blog. We miss you. You miss us. :)

Seriously, though. When your thesis is done, you are going to let out a BIG WHOOPING HOORAY! And we'll all join you.

THEN you will continue to do what you do now...Create, dream and inspire.

HUG.

kj said...

what will drive my work, you ask?

jessie, there is only one driver in the vehicle that is your life! that sounds so trite that i laugh as i write it, but you know what i mean!

it's great that your thesis is getting done. i know that has weighed on you. after that, who knows. but you can be sure you'll be writing.

i've now spent 11 and 1/2 months JUST writing. i haven't been able to figure out why I haven't pushed publication until now, now that I am ready to do just that. it's because i had to write first, to see what i would write, what i wouldn't write. so now i know more of that than i did. so now i will start to "market" my work alittle and see what the universe has in store for me next.

btw, you have been a source of support and encouragement for me. i hope you know that. i hope me for you a bit too.

have a good summer!

:)

laundrygirl said...

I think you will complete your thesis soon although I can imagine that there is also some fear intertwined in the thoughts of completion after spending so much time with it. And like you said, I know it must be hard right now to imagine life without writing your thesis. At the same time I know you will move onto something even more brilliant and exciting. It really is all about the journey isn't it? Looks like we are both learning similar things...

Melba said...

I was shaking my head yes reading this post.
I felt like you were talking to me
right now as the sun is lowering in the sky and the breeze is blowing through the screens and I hear the birds singing.

I am glad you are here.

XO,
melba

Mardougrrl said...

You already know how I feel. Pre writing, something I never used to do much of, has completely taken over. In a good way.

I KNOW that whatever you choose, you will be spectacular at it. Because that's the kind of person you are. xoxo, M