Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Morrison calls it "wordwork"

It was hard to get out of bed with rain tip-tapping on the roof and windows except for my cat, Viscosa, was crying to be fed. She's a bossy little thing. Finally she curled up in the crook of my leg and let me sleep for awhile longer. It is a dark grey day...not conducive to getting up early. But here I am, nearly done with a load of laundry and my first cup of coffee. I should be on my way to work at the flower shop--and I feel guilty because I'm not there, but I still have 3 more pages to go on my paper.

The busiest holidays always come at the worst time. Mother's Day in the floral world is a whole week, not just a day. I was a florist for 8 years before quitting to work on my masters and teach. It's my family's business...which means I'll probably be moon-lighting with flowers forever.

But for today, it is still the paper. And, no matter what, I'll be putting it in my professor's mail box before I go to bed tonight.

Surprisingly, I am beginning to enjoy the process of writing this one (now that I've worked throught the temper-tantrum stage). The progress is still painfully slow as I chisel away at thoughts and words, trying to turn them into something recognizable. This is hard work and is, perhaps, the most difficult paper I have ever tried to write. Why? Because I want to get it right. Because the nature of this topic bumps itself up against some very sensitive material, I find myself weighing every single word, every single thought. I've written plenty that "sounded good," but then deleted it because I didn't believe what it said. I've been holed up in my studio for the past several days in search of a way to tell the truth.

I'm writing about the power of language and its ability to oppress, empower, and define culture as well as an individual's place within that culture. And, although I was keenly aware of it before, I'm just now beginning to really understand the gravity of it. As I work with words, I become more and more sensitive to the weight that their message carries. And although the work is still extremely difficult, I feel like I've gotten inside language and am writing about it from the inside out. Words become fruit or even lumber--and when turned inside out, its pulpy center is revealed--messy, sticky, fibrous. And this is the wordwork that Morrison writes about and the reason why I will return to the page--to get it nothing less than right.


Anonymous said...

Wow. That's incredibly inspiring...the care you are taking with the words...especially when you say that you've written things that sounded good, but that you didn't believe in. That's something I continue to work on in my writing. "Killing your little darlings" is so much harder that it sounds (and it sounds HARD) so your work is that much more difficult and powerful.

Almost done!

Elizabeth said...

It sounds wonderful and inspiring. Will you let us read it?

Belle said...

You did a great descriptive post on writing.

Good luck on the paper.

Jessie said...

Elizabeth, I'm afraid it might bore all of you readers to tears. it's not as riveting as I had hoped--but it IS (luckily) finished.