ten truths of the writer's soul

10 Truths Of The Writer’s Soul

Truth: There is no choice

The stories burn for release.  We are writers by birth and by destiny and by intention. Not by choice. If we never scratched another word on a coffee shop napkin, this would not change.  A writer is not someone who does. A writer is someone who is. Denial will result in an unceasing ache and a relentless empty.  Our words are the truest way we serve the world.

Truth:   We will always have another mistress

Her name is Muse. We serve her with devotion. Do anything to please her and keep her close. Courting. Seduction. On our knees, desperate pleading. And when she leaves us, as she always will, we must write our way back into her graces. She responds only to action and dogged intention.

Truth:  We will stop at red lights

Pull over onto the dusty side of the freeway in the middle of nowhere. Gas station parking lots. School pick up lines. We will leave your arms at 3am after hard, hot sex. We will write with whatever is available and on any surface that presents itself. When the words come burning clear and true, we must answer.   Sometimes the words will be lost anyway. Gone into the ether as if they never were. We will mourn them like a lost child, convinced they were our most brilliant.

Truth: It is terrifying sometimes, having so many words living inside 

They beat snare drum steady in our chest. They burn and scratch and push and pull. They are thirsty for freedom. They crave the danger of the edge. They want someone to promise safety. They don’t give a single fuck. Sometimes we can subdue and tame and become master of this beast, but often we are at its mercy. The words are their own living, fire-breathing dragon. We must get out of the way, and give them space to work through us and birth themselves. The truth of a writer's soul

Truth: There are days when writing is survival

On these days the spilling of words on page is the only thing that will save us from the demons and from ourselves. The only path to burn down and rebirth. The only way out and through. The very thing that keeps us alive.

Truth: We need to write more than anything

It is the most relentlessly driving force. But many days we’ll do just about anything to avoid having to write. We will hide and run and resist with every last bit of strength we can muster. It’s the ultimate dichotomy of the creative soul.

Truth: We live nestled snugly inside paradox

We inhabit our contradictions. We are both walking peace and writhing confusion. Our only certiantly comes from the solidity of mystery. Creativity thrives on ultimate possibility and infinite potential. We couldn’t do it if we were any more sure of anything.

Truth: We’ve been writing since we were 8, or 11 or 15  

Or forever in lives long since past. We likely began with sappy, hopeful, angsty, rhyming odes to boys and girls and sunsets and ocean waves and bus stop daydreams. Mostly about love. These days we’re not so concerned about rhyming. But most of us are still awfully preoccupied with love.

Truth: You spill blood, we hemorrhage novels

Our cuts seep with the precise cadence of our lover’s sigh as our fingers slid from ribs to waist. They feel like a grieving mother hitting the ground, tearing her hair out with the wail of centuries of torn from her chest. They taste the way the ocean feels on bare skin, like salt and wet and cold and freedom. Sometimes we need to cut ourselves, clean slice across soft expanse of skin, force it all to rise to the surface – just to access the truth pulsing through our veins.

Truth: We live in metaphor as much as in reality

There are endless ways to draw our own blood. We know them all. We also know that the best way to staunch the bleeding is the exact same way we are both emptied and filled. To sit and spill our guts and our grief and our joy and our sex and our longing and our wanderlust and the time we finally found our way home. To write until we are spent. Until the words are done with us.

Truth: Don’t wait up

Rise yourself over the city at night and look. The lights still burning at 3am are those of night workers and insomniacs and the broken hearted.  And writers. Always, the writers. The witching hours between midnight and dawn belong to us. To the candles and whiskey and the sex and cigarettes and the ink and the click of the fingers against keys and the stacks and stacks and stacks of paper scrawled with layers of truth and bullshit and true love and glory and vice and battle. In the quiet time when the ghosts dance the real work gets done.

Truth: We have learned to speak in the spaces between words

In the infinite pause at the top of the incline, in the curve of the comma. In the expanse of the inhale. In the silent slide of lips along clavicle and the closing edge of teeth on hipbone. We know that one almost imperceptible moan can contain an entire love story. And that tears can be the personification of the erotic and that the metallic bite of copper is the exact taste of grief. And that in these soundless spaces we say more than could ever be conveyed with the smooth slide of pen across page and the words of a hundred languages at our disposal.

Truth: To be an artist is to be both archaeologist and surgeon

We dig deep, unearth all of the broken and discarded and fractured pieces. Pottery and garbage and bones and beauty. We dust them off and lay them out and step back to look. We study your history and make sense of your story and then splice you back together into letters and paragraphs and chapters. And on our pages you are more than the sum of your parts and yet exactly what you’ve always been meant to be. This will be disconcerting. And beautiful.

The truths of a writer's soulTruth: If you love us, even for a time, you won’t walk away unscathed

Loving a writer will fill you and buoy you and shatter you and save you again and again and again. You will become the muse and the one thing standing in her way. We will love like you’ve never been loved and tell stories you never wanted told. We will push past your boundaries and call you safely home. We will love you with wholeness and fullness and notes on scraps of torn musical scores and with the way we whisper your name in the darkest night. Even our touch will feel like a story. You will never be the same.

Truth: Lists like this are utter bullshit

We are infinitely variable, us writers. The beast and the scotch over ice and the muse and the love and the blood and the 3am incantation and homecoming and the paradox  – all of it – these are my words, and my naked heart projected on this screen. Nothing more than that. And if you are a writer you have your own pulsing, beating, brutal, brilliant heart. And your own muse and ritual and truth. And only you will know exactly how it loves and lives and breathes your art into life and builds your life into art.

And you will know that there is only one thing you ever really need.

To write.

Don’t let me stop you. Don’t pay the slightest attention to my ramblings. These are nothing but midnight meanderings fueled by a hard shot of whiskey and romanticized by a blood red candle flame and filled with the unceasing longing of my own ocean heart.

But you? All you need is a blank page and a good fucking pen. Light your candles and pour yourself a drink.  Séance your ghosts and seduce your muse. Dance only for yourself. Make it hot. Feel the truth of your bones leading the way.

And don’t let me try to tell you a single thing about your own truth. Or your life or your creativity or the ways and hows and whys of your loving or your life or your words. You know how it is for you. You’ve always known.

So quit the excuses. Sit down. Breathe deep. Own that burning drive inside you.

And write the fuck out of your life. 

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I swear like a sailor, I've been called a word-witch (more than once), I believe whole-heartedly in the power of your voice,  and think words are as necessary as air. I work with humans who are seeking permission to stop seeking permission and offer programs that will get living and writing on your own terms (for reals). 

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