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.
6 thoughts on “Carnivore Dreams – About Not Writing”
They certainly have the imaginary hobgoblins flying these days, don’t they? Climate change, food shortages, energy prices out the roof, supply chain issues, Covid, Monkey Pox, giving 5-year-olds sex changes, pronouns, and that perennial favorite, racism…… and that’s just a start. All this crap is manufactured, and the WEF is at the bottom of all of it.
Hi John, that’s for sure. Global elitists. Who they think they are. Unelected people with money. Up until now, I thought that there was an excuse for Big Business because they balanced out government. Now they work WITH government and monopolize everything from the food supply (and pesticides) to information. Terrifying stuff. It would be funny if it weren’t so scary. Hope you are doing well down there. Hot up here!
Oh, this has been going on for years and we’ve just been too busy to notice. They’ve been able to do all this in secret and have only shown their faces recently, by which time all they need to do is give the order to bring Western Civilization to its knees and replace it with a world government with them in charge. Democracy means nothing to these vicious bastards. They give the orders and we obey or are punished.
Yes it has been going on a long time, I know, slyly. Really awful. Hard to break them up because they have interests in all these countries. Worrisome for our kids.
This entry spoke to me in so many ways.
I’m watching my own father physically shrink; it really IS a thing. It’s so strange to watch a man with such a big, solid, and strong essence virtually disappear before my eyes. Assuming he makes it to November 19 (and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t), he’ll be 90 this year. 90! Though my mother would love to throw a big party for him, my dad (an introvert extraordinaire) refused. He said, “Family only,” and I’m glad—we’ll have TWO new babies by November (God willing!), and the very first great-grandbabies (all of the women in my family wait a long time to be mothers!). Regardless of birthdays and babies, I feel so blessed that my dad and my son (24) have had the opportunity to know each other; they share some of the best traits, and it’s been fun to watch their relationship grow over time. I feel even MORE blessed that my dad has lived long enough for me to get to know and appreciate him—he’s a tough nut to crack, and I can be impossible sometimes.
Unlike your dad (from what I’ve gathered from what you’ve written, anyway), my dad has tempered a little with age. I think he’s gentled a bit, and I’ve finally matured to the point where I understand him better. But I haven’t had to take care of him, physically, though I know what THAT entails. Did you ever think you’d end up with the role of caregiver? Me, either.
I understand completely about your pause in your writing. I have spent the past decade-plus learning about time and timing. I’m sure you’re well-familiar with Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (and the Byrds!), which reminds us that: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.“ And there’s a time to write, and a time to read; and a time to be still, and a time to recover. And we have SO much to recover from, don’t we?
Give yourself some grace. It’s yours for the taking. And maybe we should schedule that phone call one day soon. Sometimes, it’s good to just have a friendly ear. ❤️
Hi Susan, thanks for reminding me of the whole scripture. It was good to hear it all. My dad was 90 and a half. Nov. 27. Both of them in Nov. and close to same age. I’m glad things are mellowing out for you and your dad. Dad had Parkinson’s and that changed his personality. And his appearance some. His affect was so flat and he had trouble getting his words, and wasn’t complimentary late in life, so you never thought he appreciated you and you thought you were never living up. He couldn’t fish anymore and fell so much, he just wasn’t the same person. Used to be the biggest joke teller. Fun father. Some of our issues were never resolved and I imagine I disappointed him as much as he did me at times. But we knew we loved each other. I know he could hear me at the end. Some of our issues were just that we had to be together so much for him to stay home. And no, never thought I’d be a caretaker of all these folks! Let’s talk on the phone maybe this week! I’ll email you my phone no. again. Monday and Tues. not great, but any time afterward. I’m better around noon or after since my brains don’t work early, and I am usually getting Josh around late morning (he stays up half the night and is a late riser–I think so he can have time to himself.) Should work out ok for you with your time earlier! I’m also a night owl, so you can call even into evening if you like. XO