When these thoughts grab me I try to remember that writing puts me in touch with my “Creator Spirit,” even though I can’t define what that is. Writing makes me whole, even when I write badly. (Even bad stuff needs a creator.) When I don’t write, I’m not whole or in touch. It’s a survival thing for me.
Yes, I know how grandiose this sounds. Who am I to think I am an artist whose work will last for centuries? I’m not Shakespeare or Michelangelo. I should pay attention to my little life and let all those high-falutin’ (my grandfather’s term) ideas go. I don’t have time to write, anyway. Some days there are pressing concerns in my life that get in my way. (You know, like laundry or tweezing my eyebrows.)
About twenty years ago, I read a book about writing. Unfortunately I can’t remember the book’s name or author. (I read a lot of books about writing.) I remember it had a blue cover, but that’s about it – except for one suggestion the author made. She (I think it was a woman) suggested writing one haiku poem every day. Haiku are short – only 3 lines and 17 syllables, and yet when you write one, you are creating a piece of art that was not there before, no matter how good or bad it is. If you write one every day, then every day you can claim, with perfect truth, “Today I created something – today I am an artist.”
I thought this sounded like an interesting experiment, so I thought, “I’ll try it.”
Every day since then (well, nearly every day – about 350 out of 365 days each year) I have written one 17-syllable haiku. Five syllables on the first line, seven on the second, five on the third. I write it in the morning, and even if I write nothing else the rest of the day, I have still written something that day.
By this time I have a lot of haiku. (I hasten to say that not all of them – perhaps not even most of them – are good haiku. But then, some are excellent.)
Today I am an artist. This is a mighty and powerful statement. If you ever question why you are a writer (and what writer doesn’t?) I suggest you try writing one haiku a day, and every day you will be able to say this too. Eventually you will find yourself believing that it is true.