Masthead header

My Friend, Moonshine

Hey ya’ll. I’m reposting a guest blog that ran last Friday on IT’S ONLY A NOVEL. I hope it will inspire you as you start this week!

My Friend, Moonshine

A few weeks ago I ended up on the phone with another writer. Those who know me are aghast at this very moment! I am known far and wide as She Who Does Not Critique. Fine. But this wasn’t that. This was something else. I don’t even know how to explain to you the depth of my admiration for her talent or the thrill it still gives me to call her a friend after years of appreciating her work and now suddenly realizing the gift of her beautiful soul. But I will tell you this – meeting other writers is one of the greatest joys of this work I am doing. Discovering people who can meet me at my core – others who reveal myself to me and hold me accountable – is something so unexpected and sweet that I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. Don’t believe me? Don’t want to share your creative process? Oh, fellow introverts and purists, it will save you, I promise.

This is what I mean: Writers are essentially very excellent stills. We live in the big pot of our heads. We are accumulators, walking around, taking every detail in and tucking it back between our ears, inside our wrinkly brains to macerate. We are specialists at mulling. I can happily spend weeks inside my house without seeing another living soul, just mulling, mulling, mulling it all over. And I don’t get bored or bothered with this process. This is a mystery and annoyance to anyone who is not a writer. Oh, how we love our mash. And we are famous for this – clamping down.

I can clamp down like nobody’s business. I love a tight lid like you wouldn’t believe. I am the human equivalent of a pressure cooker. Once I’ve mulled over whatever little, twangy bits of the outside world I am able to tolerate, I will then happily drag up some faint and spicy memory of childhood and mull that over as long as I can to add flavor to the mash – and as an added bonus, I still don’t have to leave my house. I kick off my boots, lean back, sing some Johnny Cash train song, and even as the revenuers are closing in and the whole thing begins to stink, I believe that at some point I’ll take a sip of that bitter mix and it will taste exactly like brilliance. Like purity. Divinity. Inspiration. One swig will reveal some insight, some precious turn of phrase so perfect and wholly satisfying that I’ll be able to proclaim It is Finished! And go back out my door. I have such irrepressible faith that what will eventually pour out of my pot head is going to effect change, I believe it will be transforming, and the world will be a better place, a place I can stand to rejoin.

Except, sometimes the recipe is wrong. And the pressure builds.

So there I was on the phone, hip-deep in my mash – my many, many words and sentences and chapters and charts and arcs and the poetry of it all – struggling to make sense and find form and balance and joy. Because here’s the awful truth – sometimes the writing’s just swill.  There’s a fine line between fermented and rotten, and sometimes you’re too drunk on your own product to know it. More than likely you’ve also gone a little bit blind.   

And my brilliant friend takes a sniff of me through that phone line and says simply, “You know. Maybe that’s not your only POV.”

She flipped my lid. She let in the air. She oxidized everything.

And do you know what? The work is sweeter for it. And so am I. So is the world outside my door.

A few weeks ago I ended up on the phone with another writer. Those who know me are aghast at this very moment! I am known far and wide as She Who Does Not Critique. Fine. But this wasn’t that. This was something else. I don’t even know how to explain to you the depth of my admiration for her talent or the thrill it still gives me to call her a friend after years of appreciating her work and now suddenly realizing the gift of her beautiful soul. But I will tell you this – meeting other writers is one of the greatest joys of this work I am doing. Discovering people who can meet me at my core – others who reveal myself to me and hold me accountable – is something so unexpected and sweet that I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. Don’t believe me? Don’t want to share your creative process? Oh, fellow introverts and purists, it will save you, I promise.

This is what I mean: Writers are essentially very excellent stills. We live in the big pot of our heads. We are accumulators, walking around, taking every detail in and tucking it back between our ears, inside our wrinkly brains to macerate. We are specialists at mulling. I can happily spend weeks inside my house without seeing another living soul, just mulling, mulling, mulling it all over. And I don’t get bored or bothered with this process. This is a mystery and annoyance to anyone who is not a writer. Oh, how we love our mash. And we are famous for this – clamping down.

I can clamp down like nobody’s business. I love a tight lid like you wouldn’t believe. I am the human equivalent of a pressure cooker. Once I’ve mulled over whatever little, twangy bits of the outside world I am able to tolerate, I will then happily drag up some faint and spicy memory of childhood and mull that over as long as I can to add flavor to the mash – and as an added bonus, I still don’t have to leave my house. I kick off my boots, lean back, sing some Johnny Cash train song, and even as the revenuers are closing in and the whole thing begins to stink, I believe that at some point I’ll take a sip of that bitter mix and it will taste exactly like brilliance. Like purity. Divinity. Inspiration. One swig will reveal some insight, some precious turn of phrase so perfect and wholly satisfying that I’ll be able to proclaim It is Finished! And go back out my door. I have such irrepressible faith that what will eventually pour out of my pot head is going to effect change, I believe it will be transformative, and the world will be a better place, a place I can stand to rejoin.

Except, sometimes the recipe is wrong. And the pressure builds.

So there I was on the phone, hip-deep in my mash – my many, many words and sentences and chapters and charts and arcs and the poetry of it all – struggling to make sense and find form and balance and joy. Because here’s the awful truth – sometimes the writing’s just swill.  There’s a fine line between fermented and rotten, and sometimes you’re too drunk on your own product to know it. More than likely you’ve also gone a little bit blind.

And my brilliant friend takes a sniff of me through that phone line and says simply, “You know. Maybe that’s not your only POV.”

She flipped my lid. She let in the air. She oxidized everything.

And do you know what? The work is sweeter for it. And so am I. So is the world outside my door.

– See more at: http://www.itsonlyanovel.com/2013/09/27/my-friend-moonshine/#sthash.6bOhmwqV.dpuf

A few weeks ago I ended up on the phone with another writer. Those who know me are aghast at this very moment! I am known far and wide as She Who Does Not Critique. Fine. But this wasn’t that. This was something else. I don’t even know how to explain to you the depth of my admiration for her talent or the thrill it still gives me to call her a friend after years of appreciating her work and now suddenly realizing the gift of her beautiful soul. But I will tell you this – meeting other writers is one of the greatest joys of this work I am doing. Discovering people who can meet me at my core – others who reveal myself to me and hold me accountable – is something so unexpected and sweet that I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. Don’t believe me? Don’t want to share your creative process? Oh, fellow introverts and purists, it will save you, I promise.

This is what I mean: Writers are essentially very excellent stills. We live in the big pot of our heads. We are accumulators, walking around, taking every detail in and tucking it back between our ears, inside our wrinkly brains to macerate. We are specialists at mulling. I can happily spend weeks inside my house without seeing another living soul, just mulling, mulling, mulling it all over. And I don’t get bored or bothered with this process. This is a mystery and annoyance to anyone who is not a writer. Oh, how we love our mash. And we are famous for this – clamping down.

I can clamp down like nobody’s business. I love a tight lid like you wouldn’t believe. I am the human equivalent of a pressure cooker. Once I’ve mulled over whatever little, twangy bits of the outside world I am able to tolerate, I will then happily drag up some faint and spicy memory of childhood and mull that over as long as I can to add flavor to the mash – and as an added bonus, I still don’t have to leave my house. I kick off my boots, lean back, sing some Johnny Cash train song, and even as the revenuers are closing in and the whole thing begins to stink, I believe that at some point I’ll take a sip of that bitter mix and it will taste exactly like brilliance. Like purity. Divinity. Inspiration. One swig will reveal some insight, some precious turn of phrase so perfect and wholly satisfying that I’ll be able to proclaim It is Finished! And go back out my door. I have such irrepressible faith that what will eventually pour out of my pot head is going to effect change, I believe it will be transformative, and the world will be a better place, a place I can stand to rejoin.

Except, sometimes the recipe is wrong. And the pressure builds.

So there I was on the phone, hip-deep in my mash – my many, many words and sentences and chapters and charts and arcs and the poetry of it all – struggling to make sense and find form and balance and joy. Because here’s the awful truth – sometimes the writing’s just swill.  There’s a fine line between fermented and rotten, and sometimes you’re too drunk on your own product to know it. More than likely you’ve also gone a little bit blind.

And my brilliant friend takes a sniff of me through that phone line and says simply, “You know. Maybe that’s not your only POV.”

She flipped my lid. She let in the air. She oxidized everything.

And do you know what? The work is sweeter for it. And so am I. So is the world outside my door.

– See more at: http://www.itsonlyanovel.com/2013/09/27/my-friend-moonshine/#sthash.6bOhmwqV.dpuf

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*

*