All of us get stuck as writers. We all have those moments when we don't know what to write, or feel we're boring, or that we have nothing to say. Goldberg gives us some techniques or starting points to begin the process and find our own voice. So follow along with her book, Writing Down the Bones, and if you don't have a copy, click on the link above.
This set of essay's talks about setting out to view ourselves, and those small moments in life more richly. Change your perspective, try something different, savor your food, reconnect with your roots. Mainly this is about self discovering who you are and not being afraid of it. Only you have intellectual property of your thought and ideas. Find it, yield it, and share it with an unsuspecting world.
A Meal You Love
As I read this essay, I couldn't help but think about recently single. All of a sudden, I'm bombarded with questions aren't normally asked of a middle aged housewife.
- What is your favorite color?
- What is your astrological sign?
- What are your hobbies?
- What are your dreams?
- Where do you see yourself in five years, ten years?
- How do you like your eggs?
- Or, my personal favorite, what do you do for fun?
Goldberg suggests that if we are at a loss of something to write about, write about food. The most intimate relationship we have all day can be with our food. How does it taste? What is around you while you're eating? Zoom in and out of the scene for rich details.
Writing is very much a communicative gesture. Though unlike other art forms you can retreat into your own little world, only to try to reconnect with it. When you think of it in those terms, it's an absurd idea.
In my own life, as a single mom, before this past year, I had been someone's girlfriend since I was 18, only to have lapses of no more than two weeks without a boyfriend. Now I'm proud to say, I'm no one's girlfriend for close to 50 weeks now. That's nearly a year.
To attend the Blue Ridge Writers Conference this past May, I sent my daughter's to stay with my sister in law in Delaware. I really had expected it to either drive me insane, or be the vacation I've been needing. Instead, it because a time to reconnect with my writing. I am just now beginning to have to tackle and complete work that I took on in May. Think of those dark and lonely moments this way, "Reach out of the deep chasm of loneliness and express yourself to another human being." ~ Goldberg, p. 150
Blue Lipstick and a Cigarette Hanging Out of Your Mouth
Sometimes as writers, we begin to find ourselves boring. We don't like our topics, our genre, or even being in our own skin Goldberg will go to a cafe with some cigarettes. She'll pretend to smoke, since she doesn't smoke, it serves as a prop. Some other ideas were to borrow a friend's leather jacket--- maybe go to a biker bar. Whatever is ok, just as long as you don't do it every day. Break out of your routine, and then get to writing.
For me, this was the best essay in the whole book. As writers, we can get lost in the characters we create or in the stories we tell. Only as individuals do we have our story and our unique voice.
Goldberg talks about going back to where we came from, not to live there, but instead to revisit part of our past or connect with who we are, and therefore connect with our unique voice. We forget the details of our youth. Reconnect with it, and we own it, only we see it through our eyes. Only we intrinsically can convey our unique experience.
When I moved here seven years ago, I had wanted to go back to my hometown that I grew up in. I still haven't made the trip. It's only an hour and a half away, and I haven't gone on this journey. My mom and brother are laid to rest there, I took my first steps there, I was in a fourth of July parade in 1976-1977 around the town square that my brother's helped lay, and I remembered just from the suggestion that so much of my personal history is there. Goldberg merely reminded of why I should go.
Laurie Epps is a senior at Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet. A seeker of beauty and world traveler, Laurie hopes to grow into a career in travel writing illuminating the many stories that make us human despite our differences. Currently, Laurie also has a Thoughtful Thursday column dedicated to the fine art of poetry and a column called Fiction to Film that is an accompaniment to English 365 at Anderson University.