Writing about writing

I sat in a little concourse in Miramont earlier today and was prompted by the calling cry of the French Revolution – Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. My mind thought “Ooh, that seems relevant to my work on organisational change, let’s see where it takes me”. It was hard work and I am far from happy with what I produced – here it is.

However it did prompt the next piece, which flowed, about writing about writing.


I hope that I am not already getting too close to my own rear orifice, becoming one of those ‘clever’ writers I so despise – you know them, the ones who write for Literary Critics and Booker Prize Panels, the ones who want to show off how clever they are with their command of grammatical and linguistic tricks. I hope not, yet the very thought of writing about writing raised such fears for me. For they are fears, mental constructs that abhor pretension.

Over last weekend, we distinguished between writing about something and writing prompted by something – writing from the head or the heart. The latter has been surprisingly easy, just writing whatever comes into my head, those first thoughts even without thinking about them. Can you have an unthought thought? I normally write about things – with a topic and endpoint, or bullet points needing to be covered, in mind; yet this writing whatever flows through my fingers onto the ink stained page is transformational. I enjoy it, I enjoy the absence of ‘you must’, I enjoy the absence of the internal editor constantly leading me from where my self wants to go back to the predetermined preciousness of a topic. “Just let it flow” seems to be the mantra, realising as I have recently done that whether it makes sense is no sense, yet recognising that what I have written down has mostly been well-enough-formed even though I had no prior sense of what that form would be.

The words arrange themselves, they are there, they want to speak, they must be allowed their own airtime.

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