On Writing

Born to Write, Living in Exile


Tarped boat awaiting first launch

When I was barely old enough to hold a pencil, I wrote stories. I started typing them as soon as my mother offhandedly passed her clackety typewriter to me so that I could play at being a reporter. Writing has been one of the most defining desires in my life, yet, I find myself living in exile from it.

Should I blame the full-time job that leaves me wrung out by the end of the day? Or the household chores that pile up onto the night and weekend time slots when I’m not working? And don’t forget the emotional exhaustion and sleeplessness that accompany parenting a teenager. Day after day, week after week, month after month, I’ve let my life tear me away from writing.

typewriterkeys2Now I am pitching and lurching, unmoored, adrift on cross-cutting currents not of my making, poised for a wreck. Without writing, there is no direction, no point on the horizon for reckoning. No point at all.

I stop and look, really look, at my mother’s typewriter, now mounted on a wall, its keys black, rounded, gem-like. I want to tap them, watch the keywheel spin, throw the carriage return to one side with a satisfying smack. And start again. Click, click, clack. Click, click, clack. I want to push back at the life-squalls, drop a line overboard, and let it rope-burn through my fingers, clean and direct, plummeting to the seabed, led by a word-weighted anchor seeking a page.

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Categories: On Writing

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2 replies »

  1. This is beautiful, Patricia. It’s clear that you were born to write, and you WILL get there. All the living you’re doing now, with its joys and heartaches, will enrich everything you write in the future. It’s not easy being in exile. As I said to you yesterday, I remember the longing of those years so clearly. I’m thinking of you and sending hugs your way.


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