Bookmark #610

You spend a whole life, a living, breathing experience, day after day, but you must not bring it to the desk when you sit to write. You must leave it on the mantle or the kitchen shelf, or the couch. You must hang it behind the door as if it were a jacket or leave it on the backseat of the car like a backpack or a piece of tattered cloth that once was a scarf. You do not need your life when you sit at the desk—writing. You need to have lived and know what life is, but you do not need your toes dipped into your bills, quarrels, relationships, and work. Writing requires a certain detachment from the moment. When you write, you are a nobody. That is where the magic comes from. You never truly become a writer. A person who prefers the written word to tell their truth strives to be a writer every day, and when they are done writing, they cease to be one. This line of work, this job, if you may call it that, is a verb in its truest sense.

You are a writer till you are writing, and when you are done, you are whatever you are outside those words. As soon as the words stop flowing, you return to playing the character you play amidst the living. You must live bravely, and you must live righteously. All people play a plethora of roles, and characters, by definition, have agendas. The writer feels no such thing; their only agenda is to write. So, you must leave the rest behind. It is a simple relationship and, in many ways, a simple transaction. You pay your time and some of your life to leave a mark on the blank page. Sometimes, if you are lucky, it leaves a mark on the world.

But it has to be true, and it has to be what most people are afraid to say. That is how you know it matters. To live is to bite your tongue till it starts to bleed. To write is to have no such limitation.

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