Writing about writing

There is something intimidating about that white box, sitting there empty, devoid of words — a white box that I am somehow supposed to fill with words. Getting started is always the hardest part for me. Maybe Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, had it right when he told GQ that "Writing is like getting hit in the head repeatedly with a mallet."  Sometimes it feels like that, especially when in the throws of a long project that requires daily output. Mostly, though, I feel compelled to write as an outlet, a way to sort through my thoughts and ideas, and help settle them into place. 

The thoughts on writing that have stayed with me the longest come from writer Gabriel Josipovici whose works of fiction and nonfiction use writing as a method for exploring questions without demanding a perfect solution. Asking the question becomes the purpose, and a number of thoughtful, if only partial answers come along the way. For me writing does not serve as the perfectly formed synthesis, but as a process for untangling the  the various problems of life. There is a pace, a slowness that comes with finding the right words and making them stand in for fleeting ideas. Those pesky ideas that seemed so stable in my head often seem to nearly lose substance as I fix them to the page. Writing means going over, and over it again, searching for the right expression. 

Perhaps I am merely putting a magnifying glass on the struggles we all confront. So much of our lives concern writing — from emails, to text messages, social media, blogs, and the myriad of other online forums, we are constantly writing. We have sat pondering the right way to express ourselves, hoping we choose the right words with the right inflection. As a medium, the written word derives its very usefulness from its limitations. In a few strokes of the pen or pecks at the keyboard and we have delineated an idea, a thought, an image. We leave it to  the reader to form their own ideas based on those scratches onto the once blank page.

I have focused my site on asking questions so that I might then break apart their various implications. I do not pretend to arrive at complete answers, but here I can ask questions that occur to me as I go through life, and collect them in a place where they might become part of a conversation. My hope is to ask those questions in a number of ways — from constructing a recipe, to piecing together a pattern, to working out the details of a writing project. With each endeavor, I hope to add some substance to day-to-day activity.