On how to write

April 1, 2001

if all else fails, write about your wants. you are always longing for something, whether it be something tangible or something nebulous. just because you cross things off the list doesn’t mean the list itself disappears. you want, you get, and then you want some more. sometimes you confuse these with your needs, but they are not the same.

alternately, try writing about your fears. don’t tell me you are not afraid, because i can see it in your eyes. you are scared, and sometimes you lie awake unable to sleep and unable to rise. it is paralyzing. you were fearless once. you were 5, and your mother told you not to climb on that table because you would hurt yourself and you saw her lips moving and her head shaking but you thought she was ridiculous and you didn’t listen. and then you fell, and you learned that you were not invincible. you stopped climbing tables. you stopped a lot of things.

you might also want to try writing down memories. start with your childhood and work your way forward, or start with yesterday and work your way backward. while you write, keep in mind sight and scent and sound and feel. some may be more powerful than others. that’s natural. let one lead to another, like dominoes tumbling. you will get so caught up in them that it will feel like time is passing all over again.

of course, there are always your feelings. these include but are not limited to anger, sadness, worry and joy. these are perhaps the simplest to capture because they are talked about so often. usually these statements begin with the word “i,” and that is okay. don’t worry about sounding overly narcissistic. this is all about you, anyway.

and if, after all of this, you are still at a loss for words, fret not. perhaps it’s simply time to keep your mouth shut. perhaps it’s time for a little bit of silence.


  • I'm Christine, and this is a slice of my life—a sweet, rich, wildly indulgent slice that would taste really good with a scoop of Breyers vanilla bean ice cream. Read more >>

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