Reditus

It’s been a really long time since I talked about writing.

I started this blog years ago when I was determined to be a writer (re: do more than just fill notebooks at home, in private, with no one to read what was in them). I thought I’d write confidently and prolifically about the craft and business of writing, as I was growing and learning. But since then I have drifted far from that center to explore whatever was interesting to me. Turns out I didn’t want to be bound by one idea of what I should be sharing. Turns out I’m not so good at having a unified message.

I’m coming back to writing today because I’ve lately been thinking about how much it’s changed for me. Whatever fount of creativity I’ve been clinging to over the last few years has dried up and left in its place a well from which I must plumb. What at times was lustfully overflowing is timid now, underground, waiting to be coaxed to the surface. What may have been exuberant in its offering is now withdrawn. Everything in life is cyclical—even this. And I find myself in a new cycle of thinking more and creating less. Air-dried and thirsty in the desert. Remembering the feeling of being soaked.

Practical reasons, I can guess, for this new state. If I want to be analytical, I can say that much of my time not spent on my paid work is spent dealing with the current political situation and my newfound activism. A worthy reason, some would say. I also wrapped up final—final final—revisions on my second novel earlier this year—a novel over a decade in the making—so maybe my brain and my soul just need a damn minute. And because I make a living as a freelance writer and have to come up with words on demand for other people in other industries about which I usually know little but must learn a lot immediately, much of my energy reserves go toward those left-brain exercises…not to mention the near-constant search for new work and worry about not having enough. Worry is a creativity killer, I’ve found.

But every writer has these problems. None of mine are unique.

That is what we tell ourselves, too, to sound lofty. To show that we understand the tribe. “I get it,” we writers say to each other and close our eyes in sympathy. Notice my sudden use of the word “we” instead of just owning it. A layer removed. If I say “I,” I might cry.

I’m coming back to writing today to peer down the silent well. What’s down there? What have I been overlooking? What roots cling with naked tenacity to the stone sides? What thin layer of muck at the bottom hides an ecosystem of blind and primitive creatures feeding off soil and water? What hides in the cracks, unbidden? I don’t know yet. I can’t see. My eyes need time to adjust.

I’m coming back to writing because it used to be that it could help me process my emotions, learn about myself, learn about others. But I am weary of others, weary of myself. And my emotions are on lockdown until I jab their soft underbellies with a choir singing Om So Hum, and only then do they release themselves and course in rivulets down my cheeks.

My grandmother died. I want to write about her. I cannot find the words.

And so I cry.

And yet everything is bound up. I don’t know from one month to the next what will make itself known. Where are my old notebooks with my old stories and essays? Where are those old swords piercing the veins of truth? But when I read them, I don’t recognize the words anymore. Who was I back then? What did I dream about? Where did I go?

I’m coming back to writing. Because I have to.

I’m coming back because Richard Bach says in Illusions, “I will not let you go until you set me, in words, on paper.” There is something…something…that has not let me go yet. Has chained itself to my ankle. Has let me drag it down the street and into my apartment and on vacation and into work meetings and into lazy-Sunday breakfasts where I can continue to ignore it, and ignore it, and ignore it if I want to.

But if I say it here—I’m coming back to writing—maybe the chain will break. Not to release the craft. Not the business. Not the façade of enterprise and ambition.

The roots, God damn it.

Maybe I will see the roots, the primitive mud creatures, the pearl in the furthest crack.

There.

Luminescent with meaning, round like the earth, cradled in the universe. Here for me to pluck and bring into the light.

65 thoughts on “Reditus

  1. Beautiful way of putting into words the therapy of writing and also the challenges that come along with it. I too ventured off for a while and have recently returned. I am amazed at the increased creativity of my mind and at how therapeutic it is to write… anything.

  2. Such beautiful writing and so relevant to my feelings right now. I took a six month (unintentional) break from my novel and am just getting back into it this week. And I’ve been ignoring my characters’ voices for months, not sure where to take them next. Last week I re-read my novel in progress for the first time in awhile and I remembered why I needed to write it.

    Breaks can be scary, because I never know if I’ll pick it back up again. But this time I did, or I will, I hope. The long break made it feel more important somehow.

    I wish you all the best of luck in your work! I hope it feels good to get back to it.

  3. Such beautiful writing and so relevant to my feelings right now. I took a six month (unintentional) break from my novel and am just getting back into it this week. And I’ve been ignoring my characters’ voices for months, not sure where to take them next. Last week I re-read my novel in progress for the first time in awhile and I remembered why I needed to write it.

    I wish you all the best of luck in your work! I hope it feels good to get back to it.

  4. You made the right call, Amanda. The wells might had dried, hidden in the dark. But there will always be water to quench the thirst, buried under the rubble of falsehood. A light of hope will always be there, waiting lovingly to be found.

    So happy for your comeback, Amanda.

  5. So many of us have been in similar places (can’t say that I understand it completely, because I haven’t been you in your time and place)–take heart that the spring will emerge, that the more that you practice, the more easily the well will fill and the rest of the work will, too — at least, that’s how it’s worked for me. Best to you in the adventure…

  6. Welcome back to writing!!! Your piece, is a beautiful work of art. The way your soul’s expressing itself in your writing is very inspiring and I feel as though, I can truly connect to you thru your graceful writing.
    I myself am new to blogging but I’ve been writing poems since a child and reading your peace just motivated me to stick to posting my art. Thanks for that Amanda Mininger, you’re awesome thanks for your return.

  7. I found your reflections today, after an emotionally-draining first visit to my grandmother in an Alzheimer’s facility. The morning began with a will to work, to write, as I also have boring tasks that provide money. Now I find myself curling up with cocoa, protectively, sadly.
    And yet, I am also drawn to write something. They are the same feelings you’ve poignantly expressed here.
    We are living creatures, and whatever craft we’ve found to bleed through is the first we seek when we’re overflowing with emotion.
    Thank you for sharing yours here. You are an excellent writer.

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