Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Writer’s Life by Kathryn Magendie

The world is in my head. My body is in the worldPaul Auster

There is the contradictory way that is both calculated and chaotic in which writers inhabit your world; how we watch you with the egocentric writer’s eye.

Enter into a writer’s line of sight, whether obliquely or directly, and you become embedded in a rapid-fire-synaptic whirly-world sub-consciously conscious brain, thus falling victim to subsequent literary scribblings. Your every move, flinch, tic; your every wish, dream, desire, your every unique phrase, laugh, cry—all of it fodder for the jumble of humans, animals, voices, actions, characters that make up the world of a writer’s novels, stories, essays, and poetry.

The universe in my head, where I am Supreme Being, is more familiar to me than the physical world in which you all swirl about. Yet I watch you keenly; dissect you with my creative-edged scalpel and poke to see what lies inside. Even by the simple act of you falling into my vision for the briefest of moments can I steal your expression.

Virginia Woolf said, “I think the effort to live in two spheres: the novel; and life; is a strain.” I feel the strain to separate the real from the unreal, the strain to stop the inner narration so I can carry on a conversation with you without giving in to my chaos. But while I smile, nod, speak, I surreptitiously inhale your spirit—a literary vampire.

I will have to sift through events, quiet the shouting voices, and find the reality versus the story I will write. Sad to say: my reality is the story I will write.

Pick up a book such as “The Writer’s Life,” (edited by Carol Edgarian and Tom Jenks, Vintage Books, 1997), and inside are writers’ quotes where they, as many writers do, attempt to make sense of this writers’ life. And this I say to you, that without remorse we will calculatingly use you to help us find our way through the chaos to the stories within. It is what we know; it is who we are. I am thankful for my gifts, even when they perplex me, when they isolate me, when they disappoint me. But always they are a part of me, just as with my gratitude for them.


Angie Ledbetter said...

Love this post. The crazy writer explained, sort of. ;)

The Paper Whisperer said...

Very eloquently put, my dear. Ironically, I am blogging about why I write tonight. I loved this post and can sooo relate to Virginia Woolf's summary of our chaotic existence. It's hard to "splain" to a non-writer. Have a "write" nice day, Miss Kat!

Patresa Hartman said...

so awesome. i love the "literary vampire" bit. and you know, i really think of you as the epitome of a writer -- crazy, swirly, jester-wise brain. i think that's cool cool cool, ms. kat.

Kathryn Magendie said...

T'anks fellow writers!

Barbara Quinn said...

Write on!

Lisa G. said...

What an amazing post! I love how bravely you choose just the right words to capture the untidy and impossible.

By the way, the only thing worse than writers are songwriters. Never ever date them. At least if you don't want to have songs out in the universe shining a light on your break-up in perpetuity. (Their version.)

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