Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thoughts on My Lost Writer

Earlier this afternoon, my mother and I were browsing a big box book store. When we came upon the blank books, I made an offhand comment about how I wished I was still writing so I would have an excuse to purchase a new blank book. She looked at me, eyebrows raised, and said, "You mean you don't write anymore?" I told her not really, that I hammer out the occasional blog but haven't put in the effort I once did.

Later on, as I made the drive from Duluth to St. Paul, I came upon the show Talking Volumes on public radio. The interviewee was an author I'd never heard of, but I nonetheless found myself absorbed in her comments about writing fiction. So often, she said, she didn't know who a character would become, and equally as often entire novels began with simply writing about a basic interaction between two or more people she would witness on a walk or during some mundane trip of daily life in public. This made me think of my own writing, of how lines of poetry once marched through my mind for days before I'd write them down, weave a context for them, and sometimes erase them completely around the verses they inspired. I thought of how I have somewhere between ten and twenty notebooks floating around the house, each a garden of writing filled with poetic weeds with the occasional blooming rose bush shining in unlikely pages. How the writer in me has become a lost friend, the kind of friend you might wonder about at the last moments before a deep sleep or upon hearing an old song on the radio. How sometimes I call her up by means of this blog, and we write for a little while but then she disappears again into the mist of my imagination, unseen until something like a public radio show calls her back.

My last journal entry was May 10, 2010, and so much has changed in my life since then. Where has the lost writer been through family turmoil, love, pets, and accomplishments? Should I coax her out? Am I afraid of the statement that I am a writer, therefore, I must write? And if I don't coax her out, will I forever remain wondering "What if?" like a timid boy abandoning his true love out of fear, only to live a life of regret?

It must find its correct place in my life, and if it belongs, it will stay. Maybe the lost writer leaves for so long of a time because she doesn't feel welcome, like my mind is so occupied with other things and activities that I won't allow her to dance, and so she stays still. Either way, she is visiting now. I shall have to ask her.


  1. You helped me find my creativity again after it was fried out of my brain by my ECTs. You gave me advice, and I am forever grateful. I cannot guide you the way you did me, but I can encourage you to follow the path that makes you happy. Many writers go for years, decades, even, without writing anything that they see as consequential. Sometimes a line or two on a scratch of paper can bring out a new world. Go for what you want, Karen. There is nothing wrong with taking those steps to getting where you want to be.

  2. I too have kept a journal since I was a teen. In them there are fragments of poetry, hurt, angst and day to day life... I haven't been inspired to write much, or create, or even bother to clean. But I know I will some how cycle back around to that part of me... I always do. You will too.


  3. Thank you for the lovely comments! I finally journaled after writing this blog and it felt strang but familiar. It's an outlet I need back.