Randy Greenwald

Concerning Life as It Is Supposed to Be

Stranger in These Parts

“You’re not from around here, are you?”

Though I host this blog, all would be justified in addressing me in this way these days. Yes, I am ‘from’ here, but as any can see, I’ve been mostly an absent presence. Life is my excuse. But there are deeper reasons. Writing, as much as I want to do it, is hard. And like many things that are good but hard, I often shrink from it.

Steven Pressfield in The War of Art personifies this tendency as ‘The Resistance’ and challenges writers and other creators to fight against it. The most often suggested weapon against The Resistance is to set designated writing times. I set them, and then ignore them. The Resistance wins.

We all have a God given impulse to create. I sometimes express this impulse by working with words and sometimes by working with wood. When I work with wood the created thing exists in my mind before I touch the first piece of wood. As I build it, it grows and changes but the end result is generally close to what I saw in my head. My best writing occurs in the same way. The idea forms in my head before a word is typed. The writing is hard – words I think are a more difficult medium for me than wood. But eventually, what I have at the end is what first existed in my head.

But that does not come easily for me because I do not write enough, and I do not write enough because I blow through my designated writing times.

There are much better thinkers, much better observers of human nature, and much better processors of cultural events than I. But only I have my point of view and my particular voice. And to the degree that my point of view and voice resonate with others (though only a few, a happy few, my band of brothers) I’ll keep pounding away at the resistance.

I don’t like being a stranger in these parts.

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Hello, Darkness:

The Questions of Silence

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Breathless in Nashville

2 Comments

  1. Adri

    I’m taking a free writing class; meets alternate Saturdays at Towers, and last time was canceled because of IRMA’s visit. The teacher assigns a topic; I struggle to decide what to write – within her guidelines – and like you, put it off.
    For the canceled class I finally decided what to write, made changes several times, and finally got it done. Guess who read it and declared it “excellent.” You know him, and I don’t mean my younger son. 🙂
    I’m hoping we’ll carry through for Saturday. Others want to change to writing about hurricane experience.

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