What Comes out as Drivel…

… Is Beauty Disguised.
uphill both ways in the snow
This week, I launched here the inclusion of more and different writers in my blog.

I desire to propel myself into a different place with my writing, and to create a wider community of conversation around experiential writing online. “Beautiful writing” — on blogs, in books, and in print media– seems to be pushed into hidden margins as a genre mafia takes over.

You know what I mean: it’s a shuffle and two-step of compartmentalization created by an intense need to label writing and file it away onto shelves. This same kind of thing happens with blogs, only more so. In order to succeed, a blog must be as niche as possible — a shaving of a topic, narrowed in order to satisfy preconceived desires of outcomes fractured into page views and “unique visitors” (such as they are).

The writing in these places, to me, often feels so empty. It never-ended bullet-pointing solutions to our problems, and to me it just feels deeply unsatisfying. Like eating ice cream to solve the emotional eating craving, because you were all out of the Doritos.  Numbers drive the content, and what is lost is the way writing makes us more.

More human. More awake. More prepared to be a part of our moment.

My friend, Tricia, writes to me that her own production has become spotty, with energetic bursts paired with long bouts of silence. Her writing, when it happens, she says comes out as “drivel” — a word that means both “twaddle” and “saliva flowing from the mouth.” Either way, it is a beautiful and melancholy image, accidental language in the middle of an everyday email that shows her ability to sculpt metaphor into human experience. Even as she drives through a puddle of her own sadness.

We take a walk (uphill, both ways, without shoes, in the snow) into the forest of words, and we ask us ourselves to examine our choices and our beliefs: it is emotionally packed, filled with heartbreak and humor.

My writer friends, who will be visiting here from time to time, are all writers who have shown me that they are capable of this beauty. I hope we can all encourage them to write into that space of fear, frustration and mania– where the human experience and the art of writing combine to make us more .

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  3 comments for “What Comes out as Drivel…

  1. August 22, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Well-articulated, as always. Lately I have lacked the courage to “write into that space of fear,” but I have had a number of encounters (including this latest) in the past couple of months that have served as gentle nudges in a more adventurous direction. Thanks for the boost.

    • August 23, 2010 at 9:04 am

      Not everything I say is well-articulated… just ask Colin! (-; When I was taking a pottery class back in the 90s, a psychic who was also taking that class noted that I was pretty terrible at pottery and asked what I “do” for a living. I told her I was a writer, but that I was pretty blocked at the moment. She was quiet for a moment (presumably reading my mind or my vibes, right?) then said: “You aren’t blocked; you are absorbing right now.” My pottery got better after that, and I understood what people meant by “paradigm shift.”

      • Colin
        August 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm

        I’ve only met one person with the quality that “everything-he-said-was-well-articulated.” He was a friend in college and had cerebral palsy. Every word was carefully chosen for maximum impact since his words were so very difficult to produce.
        For the rest of us – we articulate well when we need to, but for the most part our words are cheap and occasionally careless.
        Having said that, Elizabeth, you articulate better than just about anyone that I know, except when you have a bout of multi-unfinished-sentence-itis.

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