Why do writers make writing difficult? Is it that way for everyone? I mean even for those who don’t call themselves writers? The moment I even think about writing I begin to feel the chill. Why is that?! Why should I be afraid of something I allegedly “love” and was made to do? It doesn’t make sense. I know there is some sense somewhere about it but I haven’t found it. I get tired of looking. I just want to sit peacefully and write what is on my mind and enjoy the purging effects of putting my thoughts on paper.
Maybe it’s because of all the expectations put on writing by the world and ourselves. Writing is a purely creative process that depends upon nothing to be what it is, so it doesn’t need to prove itself by providing predetermined results. It can’t work that way and be honest. Yet making it utilitarian is the first thing we do. I do. Maybe I learned it from the world, but it might not matter that I was taught by others because I may have taught it to myself if they hadn’t been there to teach me.
Not that that matters. The source of this problem isn’t the problem. If someone hands me a rotten apple I don’t have to eat it. I can choose to discard it and go on with my life. So I don’t care who handed me the bad apple.
What matters is that I’m sitting here writing about it, getting it off my mind and onto this page where I can clearly see it from all sides. Kind of like a 3D modeling software program that rotates the view side to side top to bottom. If I can get it out here I can see it. That’s the first step. Otherwise there is no step because I trip over the unseen hidden in the darkness of ignorance.
So I want to write. I know I love to write, and have hit or miss touched upon that love since my earliest days. So I keep coming back over and over again, and usually get sent on my way like a jilted lover. She is harsh, the muse, a no-nonsense “this is the way it is” entity who is the gatekeeper to the creative realm. She has no time for fear, hesitation or uncertainty. Her throne must be approached with unabashed confidence and humility.
I get nervous just talking about her. Her riveting gaze lays bare my soul, then she looks away as if I were merely a distraction, that I don’t matter and she doesn’t care.
Am I making this up? Well, yeah, a little. It’s a metaphor. Metaphors help explain things we can’t otherwise see. They give substance to something without tangible, physical properties. Like gravity.
You can’t see gravity, touch it or directly point to its existence. We know it’s there only by its effect on other things that we can see. Like falling apples (Newton’s inspiration). And the rotating moon around the Earth (Newton’s extrapolation from that inspiration). Spinning solar systems. Spinning galaxies.
Where was I? So, I get bogged down in my creative realm forays. I begin to balk. To stop, to stutter and backtrack. How can I stay there without the “me” that is traveling there becoming sick? When I don’t think about what I’m doing I’m fine. Self-reflection, self-consciousness is the destroyer of my “muse body”, which shrivels up and dies. Then I’m back here sitting on the couch with the doggies wrapped sleeping around my legs, the TV on with no sound and the cat bunched up in an irritated reverie at my side.
The “muse body”?
There I go again! Another metaphor! I can’t survive without them. I can’t think without them. They are so important to understanding so many things. The mind needs that handle. It can’t function without it. So the metaphor and its relatives, analogy, allegory and simile are essential components or tools the mind must have to understand the tangible and intangible dimensions of the world around us. No different than the need for logic.
Are logic and metaphors both essential tools of the mind? Logic gets top billing and the adoring attention of thinkers everywhere, yet metaphors are barely considered essential to anyone but artists, writers, dilettantes and dreamers.
Yet think about it: how else could Newton have made the logical leap from falling apples to the Universal Law of Gravitation without it?