as if

“Write as if you are dying. At the same time, write as if writing for an audience of terminally ill patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you begin writing if you knew you were to die soon? What would you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?” (Annie Dillard, Abundance, quoted from memory.)

shocked into silence

a fresh idea

from afar

Who knows what I might write about. Right now I think I might well write about my paternal grandmother. Since I don’t know an awful lot about her, but I know about writing by association. There is no telling what I might write about – before I start. And go on. I might write about my paternal grandmother. And, since I don’t know an awful lot about her, might end up – where?

Nathalie Goldberg teaches writing memoir (or anything for that matter) in this way. Give yourself over to the process, staying with what is present. Or, as Nancy Hillis, painter and psychiatrist, calls it – the adjacent possible.

Today, I have received a present that makes me feel I am growing up at last.

And I have not even unwrapped it yet.


~ by Barbara S on October 4, 2021.

2 Responses to “as if”

  1. We write what we know and embellish it with what could be, might be, and what we hope it to be. That is why writing is a kind of fortune telling for the author. When reading, the fantasy or Sci-Fi, stories pull me in when the universes created have a link to current times. It allows me to travel that thread that moves from where I’m sitting now, to where I want to go.

    • Agree totally and – I guess you don’t mean literally I want to be stuck in a recliner in 8 yrs – I guess the humour and creativity add a flavour that prevents reality from falling flat? 🙂 it’s like an internal psychodrama including swap roles, Now bed. Thanks.

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