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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How to Write When you Despair of Being a Writer

Write like you are an adolescent and the words burn you like acid, the fumes rising out of you the only way to stave off anger and despair and the angst of growing into yourself.

Write like you are a woman with breast cancer who survived. So the woman with a lump the next month or the next year or next decade knows that you lived, that you breathe and go on and she will too.

Write like they’ve dropped you in a deep, dark hole and your words are the only light rising out of it, the only breath that might set you free. Write like your countrymen have no voice and yours are the only words floating up to heaven that tell they are tortured and raped and buried in the deep places of the earth. Write so your political leaders will scream and call for your blood, so they label you a traitor and hunt you.

Write like you are a young mother with postpartum depression, and the way your doctors tried to cure you almost drove you mad. Write so they will see it and change how they treat other women.

Write like you are founding a country based on equality, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and you want others to know about it. Write so its citizens will fight for it and cling to its ideals in good times and bad.

Write like the President will see it. Like he will change environmental policy forever because of the words you create, the urgency. Write what you learned about history so he can design his government in the best way.

Write so that you can show how all men are created equal, and women too. Write so they can see you are smart and strong, not less because you are a slave, or a woman, or a jew or a white man who doesn’t get it. Write because it is a weapon and a benediction, because it will end a war and bind up a nation’s wounds.

Write so you can tell us how it was in the camps, in the attic, in the small quiet spaces no one sees but you.

Write so we can see each other for the first time and for the thousandth. Show us we are not alone. Write because the words are so powerful they burst from your skin like ripe fruit. Like yours is the last pen in the world, with the last bit of ink, and generations to come will see your words and do better.


Catherine Rankovic said...

Thank you, Tricia. Strong medicine for hard times. I have posted a link from my blog to this entry.

BECKY said...


K9friend said...

Amazing post, Tricia!

Thanks for the links and the inspiration. I think I'm going to do some writing today!

irishoma said...


Tricia Grissom said...

Thanks for the kind words, all. I try to explain to my students how powerful writing is and this kind of evolved out of that.

Elise said...

Thank you !

nlindabrit said...

Thank you for these wise words, which I so needed to read.

Tricia Grissom said...

Hang in there everyone!

roller coaster teacher said...

Very inspiring and encouraging :D