On Sunday, April 7, between 10 a.m. and noon, I’ll be the guest author at Jan’s Paperbacks in Beaverton, Oregon. I am mindful of the honor. Phillip Margolin is launching his new book there a few days prior. Being even remotely linked with a bestselling author always gives me a nose bleed.
Still, when it comes to book gatherings, I’m not a complete novice. I know on those occasions, someone in a quavering voice, as though confessing to a crime, will say, “I could never be a writer.” In spite of myself, I’m always surprised. We are talking about using our native language, aren’t we? It’s not as if scribbling down our thoughts is foreign, like stringing a necklace of kidney stones. At one time or another, we are all writers, though some of us wait until we are under duress. “Your honor, I write to be excused from jury duty. My dog ate my car keys.”
The difference between nonwriters and writers is simple. The latter enjoy exposing themselves.
I’m referring to thought, of course. Writing is the reflection of a mind at play. One idea opens a door to another and another until a word becomes a sentence or, perhaps, an entire paragraph. As Lewis H. Lapham, editor emeritus of Harper’s Magazine explains it, we might even use that word, or phrase or paragraph to “fish it into the net of metaphor.” (“See for Yourself,” by Lewis H. Lapham, AARP, Feb/March, 2019, pg. 71.)
Metaphor. That’s where words come to play.
Don’t mistake me. Writing is always serious and play is never easy. But there’s joy in the effort. As Lapham connotes, “ …when the mind is being put to creative use, the sense and sensation of freedom is off the charts. (Ibid pg. 71.)