[This is a blog chain. It's the first one I've done, and I'm doing it only because my good friend Maria Savva asked me to. Well that, and, I was very curious to read her piece, which is here. And her piece was inspired by Jason McIntyre's original post, which is here.]
So, what is writing like to me? First thoughts...
the first meal when you get out of jail or the hospital or the mental institution. Writing is a wholly rounded meal, not necessarily what you want. It's lean chicken or tofu, broccoli with light spice and no butter, a thin slice of rye or sourdough bread, a 4oz glass of dry red wine and a few small, soft chocolate chip cookies or a scoop of your favorite ice cream. It is served on dark, square plates and in a crystal glass. It is nutritious and filling, even though it wasn't your first choice. If you eat everything though--if you don't try to give your plate away before eating the broccoli, for instance--you will have refueled and had, at last, that experience that you always knew a meal should be. You will feel the energy the way you are supposed to; you will be invigorated and stronger because you've been eating too much white bread and Jell-O and cream of wheat, and whatever else is preservative-heavy and bland that the confining places serve you. Now, you eat as though your meal is not only your last but your only, the only one you'll ever need. And the bitter, sweet, pungent, full, salty tang of the whole of it fills you in a way you have forgotten possible.
And, if you write again, you will feel this way again. And it will again feel as though you were just released and are only now enjoying the fullness of a meal for the very fist time.
Don't get me wrong, I love Cream of Wheat, but writing is not like Cream of Wheat. No matter what.