Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Writing to Forget What I Wrote (Day 61)

My son celebrated the birthday of Dr. Seuss today. But, did you know it is also the birthday of Tom Wolfe?  He wrote Bonfire of the Vanities (which I think is an excellent read and now in my queue for a re-read). I don't read many male authors--there are few in my rotation, but I typically end up getting annoyed by a male writing voice describing the motivations and decisions of a female character. 

Trust me, no matter how much they try, they never quite get it right. But, anyway, back to Tom Wolfe. 

When I was reading about him tonight, I came across this quote:

"The reason a writer writes a book is to forget a book, and the reason a reader reads one is to remember it."

So, he was a genius. 

Writing these 61 days has been an incredible bit of therapy for me. I have a million ideas and books and stories and sentences rattling around my brain every single day. Sometimes it is completely distracting and paralyzing--especially when I feel desperate to write about Bridgerton or distracted by thinking about vaccination and cult religions but I have to write about something professional and very important. 

Writing whatever comes to mind has helped me empty whatever came to mind. It frees me up for so many more things that will come to mind--because that is the beautiful, marvelous thing about life: it is filled with endless stories and laughs and emotion and yarns to spin into something. 

I think this also explains why making lists is so relaxing to me. The longer the list and the more things on it, the better I feel about my capability to get everything done. I need to empty to refill. 

Anyway, for the heck of it, I decided to look back through my writing tonight. First, I was just going to look through this blog and then I thought I'd look through writing I've done for Alex's Lemonade Stand over the past 5 years; but then, I decided to google myself and find some of my vintage writing. 

Let me tell you--there is a WIDE array of things I've written ranging from press releases for the United Nations Environmental Programme to weird articles about dolphins in Canadian adventure magazines to a very homey quilt review series in Woman's Day magazine to stories about Fairfax, Vermont.  I have a stack of old Temple News clips (and several copies of the piece about a tenured professor being censored, which gandered me the attention of the Board of Trustees. Note: You don't want their attention). I have some ridiculous pieces I wrote for my middle school newspaper about wearing backpacks. I know one should not hold them accountable for the words they wrote in 9th grade; but there is a reason one writes to forget and the column about the cafeteria food is a big one. 

I found this old picture of me:


I still have those books; but that naturally nearly black hair of mine has been long gone. 

I also stumbled upon this: Recital Week: Falling, fake hair, tulle, tiaras and the glory of the danceI had completely forgotten about this story; but when I read it I recognized my voice. It was a bit like finding myself again. 

So, here's to 304 days more days of writing to forget; but hoping you all remember the things I wrote. 


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