I’ve been thinking about this idea for an essay for about a month now. (Forgive me if I don’t tell you what it is. As Ted Gup once taught me, talking about a piece can kill it.) I’ve been jotting down ideas, sending out emails for more information, reading, all the while thinking about what I was going to say. I even had a couple of sentences to start the piece.
Then, I sat down today and wrote it. A draft that is. And it didn’t start the way I thought it would. It didn’t end where I thought it would. While some of the stuff I wanted to include I did include, the piece is not what I thought it would be. But it’s better (at least I hope so).
And here is where the mystery of writing lies. I can sit down with one intention, and then end up in a new place where my intention becomes right and clear and the one I really had in mind all along. It’s as if I had to wait for just the right moment to get to just what I had to say.
That’s not to imply that I’ve got up this moment, felt the Muse tap me on the shoulder, and then headed to my computer. Nope, I had to plan a morning to write; I had to consciously go to bed early, not schedule any meetings at the college, not begin grading papers. I had to plan. But even in planning there’s waiting. My writer’s mind seemed to work within the plan I had set, silently like a mother secretly slipping out her son’s lucky underwear and washing them only to return them to his floor, crumpled but clean. These things go on below the surface, and it’s amazing to watch.
So now I’m feeling better. I can write, even when I’m not writing. I’ve read that before – the writing isn’t just about putting the words on the page – and on some level I even believed it. But today told all of me that such is true. What a good day.