By Dave Madden @DMaddenMMA
Some people drink or abuse drugs because they have demons inside them that they want to kill; I write because I have demons inside me that I want to understand.
Each sentence, phrase, or utterance exiting our mouths should be certified with value. If not, why say it?
“Part of becoming a writer is the desire to have everything mean something.” -Louise Erdrich-
Spouting off everything at the forefront of our thoughts is easy, maybe too easy. Before speaking, grab a pen and paper, word processor, or whatever is your chosen writing instrument, and scribble out that contemplation. Is it still as deep, desirable, vivid, and valuable as it was before your vocal chords got to it?
I can speak for myself and say, ‘Certainly not!’ The difference between my speaking and scribing resembles a heavyweight challenging a lightweight in a cagefight. The moments it takes to compose, versus converse, forces me to revert back to my cornerman for advice. My working definition of writing: a back-and-forth contest between what I want to say and how I prefer to be heard-trial and error.
My truth serum is black and white. By slowing down the world around, etching out this and that, I’m uncovering truths.
Count to ten, go for a walk, take deep breaths: None of these strategies are an antidote to my here and now mentality.
“All of us are watchers-of television, of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway-but few are observers. Everyone is looking, not many are seeing.” -Peter M. Leschak-
If I’m here and something now requires my attention, reaction, or effort, there is no avoiding my truest emotions. I now know it is my inner writer who is simply trying to get a handle on the matter because I want to comprehend what is going on here.
Quirky as it may be, I’ll notice: mismatched socks, the contents of your lunch, that I wonder your wonderings, or if you truly are picking up what I’m laying down. Down two rounds out of a possible three, my mind swings for the fences to knockout or takedown my opponent: an idea attempting to stray.
Others are who they are: Troubling terms to accept because I’ve always been under the impression that I’m an agent of change.
“There isn’t any secret. You sit down and you start and that’s it.” -Elmore Leonard-
I’m the CEO of a Singular 500; I’m an assembly line powered by personal drive. Whether the task put in front of me is miniscule or daunting, the chore is mine and stamped property of. Make haste? There’s no time to waste! Teaching, collecting, writing, exercising, painting, or any participle I have in my life that acts as a noun receives a heightened degree of attention. Any job I complete is the powerhouse of my pride. As a writer, I never leave anything in the hands of the judges; writer’s block never forces me to wave off the contest, nor does my pen ever submit to the paper. I love work. Writing is work; hence, I love writing.
I grew, and continue to grow, more flexible and refrained from casting each day into a specific mold.
“Sometimes I think human beings learn to harden like concrete.” -Donald Murray-
When I implemented a malleable attitude, the art of prose connected with my inner martial artist; grappling with words, feinting ideas that weren’t precise, delivering crushing knees and elbows to the times when doubt crept into my mind. My choices as a writer transform concrete into a watery slush and allow for smooth handiwork on the canvas.
Life, relationships, and the passing of time unlock uncertainty.
“Teach yourself to work in uncertainty.” -Bernard Malamud-
Writing reminds me of the cautions on the road up ahead, and I now welcome more uncertainty as a writer than I previously would have expected.