Mar 24, 2016

WRITING ON WRITING



The general definition of writing: the activity or skill of marking coherent words on paper and composing.  It seems simple. For me, not so.




I wish I could find space in my head and heart to write everyday. 

It’s complicated; my DNA is wired for thoroughly considered, reviewed, complete, finished and polished if possible.  This Elena DNA applies to most everything I do, cooking, cleaning, planning most any activity and yes writing ! 

I wish the wiring in my soul was different.  


I am who I am, 57 years in the making.

Today I’m writing about writing.  I’m writing because on days when I don’t write, I know it. And when the days add up to weeks, I really know it.

I’m writing because the act of writing, the sitting in front of the PC, Elena being quiet so words show up on the screen, I need that.  I’m writing about writing because I’ve been considering what it would take for me to write about the subjects and experiences I’ve said I want to write about all my life. 

HMMM, WRITING...... for me an emotional quest, this idea of words on paper, it’s powerful and frightening all at the same time.

I follow two blogs that I enjoy and that challenge me. 

One is Joy Defined, the author is Joy Phenix, she lives in Atlanta.  I’ve met Joy twice.  I was introduced to her by a dear friend, Maggie Bellville.  Joy started her blog, (I think two years ago) and she’s never missed a day of posting, NOT ONE DAY. 





Her record certainly a hallmark of discipline, conviction and commitment.   I met Joy for lunch last year and asked how she does it ? She shared that she has some posts written ahead of time as drafts. I don’t know if she has an editorial calendar, her posts include wide and varied topics: life lessons, book reviews, recipes, she is a wonderful restaurant critic of all the happening places in Atlanta and we have many.  Joy also writes about her family, travel, current events, both local and word wide.  I enjoy the energy of her posts, she always includes photos, quotes and many times videos. Her recipe posts are always interesting, some dishes I’ve tried.



The other blog I found as of late via Medium.com.  







The blog is titled, Aristotle at Afternoon Tea.  The author post about once a week, her topics also varied. Her blog is elegant, the visuals are usually images of wonderful artwork and she includes great quotes.  In the About section of the blog, it details,  My resumé says I am a Lebanese Fulbright scholar with a Masters degree in security studies from Georgetown University, and a PhD candidate in international affairs and diplomacy at the Centre D’études Diplomatiques et Stratégiques of the Hautes Écoles Politiques de Paris. It also says I speak four languages fluently and am an expert on Middle Eastern politics and intrastate conflict. But resumés do not know everything.”

The author’s name is Yara Zgheib. Her posts are not as frequent and that works for me as I like to read them two or three times.  He writing style is thorough, almost academic and delicate.  It is indeed like enjoying a wonderful cup of tea. 

Certainly the two blogs are very different and in so many ways. The common thread, W R I T I N G ! ! !  

My requirements for writing are space and time and quiet.  It’s my ideal situation.  I want to be able to write and review and edit. I wan to be able to write and then walk away from the piece, from the collection of words, sentences and even paragraphs and then come back. 

The revisionist in me was honed during the MFA Writing program I completed at Queens University 10 years ago.  At Queens, revision was encouraged and always a topic of discussion and learning.  Being critical of my own work and being able to review and edit it is something I had to learn and continue learning. 

Reading my own work quietly, then out loud, reading by slowing the pace to almost an exaggerated read of each word by itself, that all comes with me to every encounter I have with a blank page or a blank screen.  


The revision lessons began long ago with Independent Studies in English, 11th and 12th grade, Mr. Braden was my teacher.  He took great care in marking up my papers with red ink, always providing detailed feedback on edit recommendations. Somewhere in a file folder in my office, I one paper that I wrote in high school. I will make a PDF copy and share one day. It's a creative interpretation of 



And the E in my paper does not refer to Energy as in the relativity equation. 









I need quiet to write. 

And I don’t mean isolation quiet, it’s more the quiet of focus.


I like to write focused on writing.  I need my head and heart and my surroundings to be present in the act of writing.   The need for quiet space is not so much physical as it is the need for emotional quiet or focus.  It’s hard to explain.

My consideration for all of this is preparation and planning. I want to be able to have the space, the time and the quiet to engage in writing and work on the project ideas that have been on a shelf in my heart for many years.


Next week I will have 5 days of quiet and space and even a body of water. 

I'm going to house sit for Maggie and Paul at their house on Lake Oconee. It will be me and 5 dogs: Jake, Cody, Bruno, Maddie and Morgan, and yes my iMac will be packed, so I can write and write and write.  







Imagine, there is also access to a hammock and two kayaks !  HORRAY !