Friday, August 30, 2013

The heart of a writer

The news of Seamus Heaney's death has finally spurred me to write a post about a topic I've been mulling over for awhile.

I met Heaney 20 years ago when I studied in England/Ireland/Wales with fellow college students, although I admit to having read little to nothing of his poetry since that time.  It's not that I dislike his work; I'm just more into novels.  

In my efforts to keep this blog up or do freelance work (and receive responses as a result of people reading my writing), I sometimes wonder if I am a bit of an attention whore, and it makes me feel badly.  Am I so deprived of attention, am I so emotionally needy that I require the feedback from others?  Why can't my writing just be for me?  

As I've been stewing on this, including at a Bruno Mars concert a few weeks back, that the need to have others read what I write is entirely appropriate and natural.  (I wonder what other people think about during Bruno Mars concerts?)

If a person is a dancer or a singer or a musician or a comedian or a puppeteer or a writer, he or she not only loves the act of dancing, singing, playing music, telling jokes, orchestrating puppets and writing, but he/she loves the response of the audience.  Sure, there is joy in the simple act of doing these things alone for one's own love of them, but that love is magnified when other people enjoy it as well.  The whisper of internalized joy becomes a ROAR when it is shared.

I am a little dinky fish in a vast pool of talented people, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't share the writing that comes from deep within or feel like an attention-hungry freak for wanting to share it.  (Take that, stupid voice inside my head that tells me untruths!)

The desire to do it and to share it go together (unless one is Emily Dickinson, although even she shared it on a much, much smaller, more intimate level).

I think that is how you know you have the heart of a writer.

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