Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Joy of Private Writing

Do you have that annoying cousin? You know, the perky one? How about the older relative who consoles you with, "Don't worry dear. I think you are a lovely person. Pay no attention to what others say."
Sure you could write about them, or write letters to them that you have no intention of sending; but here is the joy of keeping it private. You can explain yourself to anyone who bugs you, but you don't have to do that. You could write a poem a day this month and at the end of it say to them or yourself, "Guess what? I wrote 30 poems and you're not in any of them. I wrote and I did not write about you."
Writing Thru It does not mean Wallowing in It. You can write yourself a path of liberation by focusing on something else entirely. Write what you know is good advice if you are writing to be published or to demonstrate your knowledge. Go find something new is good advice if you want to write for the pleasure of it.
If you are recording family stories, just try to change the ending of one. That's what fiction is. The writer decided how it would end and had no requirement to get it right. No need to stick to what actually happened. Writing memoir? You don't have too include everybody. That perky cousin probably gets enough attention already and the older relative? They weren't with you on your adventures.
Never written poetry? Take some favorite writing of yours and print it out to look like a poem. That won't necessarily make it one, but it will give you a new appreciation. Rework it by choosing your words very carefully. Try to establish rhythm or rhyme and you may be on to that something new. You may be on the path to liberation. Just don't worry about what others say.


Anonymous said...

What a great piece. It is so funny that you write this today. I am contemplating a memoir about my brother who died when he was 18. I once wrote a short story, but now would like to expand it. I am worried I will offend someone or leave them out. The idea of writing it all without telling anyone is so great...see how it comes out without certain bit players- Dody

Ellie O'Leary said...

Write away. It's yours for the cathartic effect or the polished piece. Either way you have more writing practice handling a difficult topic. Good luck with that.

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