The way I write

egon-schiele_self-portrait-with-raised-arms_1914I wait. I pretend I am interested in other things and I am, but I am one foot out the door, because I want more, I want language to merge the chaos in me and make it a beautiful shape, and so I wait. I wait and suddenly a line creeps into my head. I use this verb having really thought about it. Creeps. Because when the line a writer has been waiting for appears in the brain it is like the physical sensation of a worm popping its head out the soil. There is something which separates this line from the rest of my thoughts. A physicality. And then I do what I am meant to do, if I wish to be a writer: I drop everything and follow that worm, like a bird, and pull and pull at it until a rosebush or a tree pops out. I’ve heard it said that writing is the loneliest profession. It doesn’t feel that way for me. For me it feels like the least loneliest feeling I ever experience, when I am writing. Nothing compares, to me, to the thrill of feeling language take shape within me, and I sit back, stretch out my hands and gasp at the miracle.

Note: Includes an image of a drawing of the painter Egon Schiele made with pencil and gouache in 1914, and entitled Self-Portrait With Raised Arm.


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