I think Hemingway always wrote. Through war, the tragedies of his life, all of it. He claims the stuff he wrote wasn’t true. Yet it seemed to mirror his life exactly. He said he got up every morning and would endeavor to “write one true thing.” That he “would write one story about each thing that I knew about. I was trying to do this all the tie I was writing, and it was good and severe discipline.” Though I think he was a fraud in some ways. I am not sure he ever wrote about his father’s suicide–at least I don’t remember it. I think he stayed away a lot from his immediate family–his mother and father anyway.
Seems the ultimate cop out.
I knew, like he did, that I always wanted to be a writer. Yet unlike Hemingway I have stretches in my life where I didn’t or couldn’t write.
It’s not writer’s block. I don’t believe in that. I always knew if I sat down at a typewriter (or computer) I could write something I’d be mostly proud of, something that often would surprise me.
And it wasn’t lack of self-discipline, either. I’m blessed with plenty of that.
Yet like another time in my life, I spent the last three years fiddling around with this blog (thinking that would jump start me) and watching old sit-coms every evening, watching my father deteriorate, become smaller and smaller, disappearing before my eyes, until at least he was dead.
I know why I’m not writing.
So much has happened to me in my life and in the world that I had to make sense of.
It wasn’t time to write.
It wasn’t even time to revise my fantasy thing I was hoping would be more fun than the literary stuff I’d been writing all my life. This new world must be incorporated even into that–though I try not to write where someone can identify a time period–wanted it to be more timeless than that. Still, the human experience must be reflected in anything I write.
So I wait.
But I’m reading again. I never write unless I read. Hemingway on Writing, a thriller set in Michigan’s UP, visit again some of the writers that made me want to be a writer. Wendell Berry. I wonder, since in his nonfiction and as a farmer, he believes global societies can only fail. He believes (or did) in small agrarian communities where you knew your neighbors and bartered with them. I believe he’s a conservationist, environmentalist, and so am I (climate change people are propagandists–not sure he would agree). But I have to wonder what he thinks of this global economy, this WEF or whoever they are, World Economic Forum. He’s 87 or so now and it seems contrary to everything he believes. I am guessing he thinks we’re about to collapse and his vision on how societies have and will survive in the future are about to be repeated.
I can’t read most contemporary literary fiction anymore. Not because the literary community hurt me by excommunicating me. But because they are fake people who write fake crap, much of it coming out of MFA programs and writer’s workshops, not real life, from one point of view, one life experience (Jim Harrison worried about this) and who don’t really believe in writers unless they agree 100% with their political views. Posers, all of them. They have beautiful language at times, but they write in echo chambers and reward nothing but the sound of their own shared experience reverberating back to them.
But I love Wendell Berry. I’m reading The Memory of Old Jack. From the point of view of an old farmer who is close to death. Death being something more on my mind. Ill health.
Anyway, nothing before its time.
That’s the rule.