posted on Monday
For some reason I had occasion to think about this today.
(I just cannot imagine why.)
But it’s true. Using a hatchet is just like writing.
No, no, no–I don’t mean the part where errant CEs get hold of your work or the typesetting process accidentally–well, you don’t even want to know. That’s more like weedwhacking.
I mean the part where you choose between working or letting it happen.
Okay, you’d think: Pick up the hatchet…aim it…hit something with it.
It’s: Pick up the hatchet, aim it, and let it hit something.
The hatchet does the work, you see. If you let it.
Okay, mostly. You gotta give it some swing, but it’s not a mighty man-grunt swing. It’s just lining things up to happen and then providing some momentum. And if you try too hard? You get cramps in your forearm, and in your hand, and the blade doesn’t ever bite deep. It skids off the wood, or it takes these bitty little hacky chips. You get in your own way.
So, writing. You try too hard, you over-think it, and your brain starts to steam. The words don’t work well with each other. They don’t bite deep. You get in your own way.
Just gotta line yourself up and let it go.
Is that too profound, or what?
(But where would we be without pictures of the agility yard process?)
Today is the day of concrete metaphors…I just started a blog post about writing, too…how it’s like trick riding…specifically, that writing in two genres is like Roman riding (and if one gets ahead, you’d better commit to one horse and rebalance, or else.)
So much about so many crafts/skills is related…the getting out of your own way works with horses, too, as you know, and with fencing. So much is about setting up the right situation and letting it do its thing.
And I think a certain amount of practice, practice, practice…both for confidence and muscle memory…
“So, writing. You try too hard, you over-think it, and your brain starts to steam. The words don’t work well with each other. They don’t bite deep. You get in your own way.
Just gotta line yourself up and let it go.”
That works for me. Very much like my experience with the Native American flute.
“When I picked up a flute for the first time it was me and the flute and occasionally music. Then after some time it got to be me and the flute and the music. Then one day it became me and the music. then one fine day the window to my soul opened and when I picked up the flute and began to play, there was just the music.”
Much the same thing when I am writing, my best work happens when I get out of the way and pay attention to the story.
my muscles need a lot of practice, their short term memory isn’t very good.
Robert, any time I’m away from a skilled activity for even a little while, I feel like a stranger in my body until I get it warmed up again…