With obstinacy, patience and joy

A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is. When I speak of writing, the image that comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or a literary tradition; it is the person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and, alone, turns inward. Amid his shadows, he builds a new world with words....To write is to transform that inward gaze into words, to study the worlds into which we pass when we retire into ourselves, and to do so with patience, obstinacy, and joy. Orfan Pamuk -- nobel lecture, 2006 *

I ran across this lovely quote about writing yesterday as i was doing my habitual saturday morning read of the many knit blogs I follow. While I write -- here, in my journal, and in fits and starts on various articles I hope someday to publish, I struggle to think of myself as a writer. A few years ago, an editor friend of mine told me that the difference between a writer and a person who writes is that the writer works on what she writes, revising and editing and struggling to find the right words to say what she sees or feels. A person who writes -- well, that person just writes. For the longest time, I rarely wrote more than one draft of anything and the thought of revising came only when someone else told me I needed to do so. But I took those words of my friend seriously and began to think of what I write as worthy of more attention and energy from me. Of course, now I must learn when to stop and allow what I have to just be as it is, even though it is not exactly what I hoped. Baby steps.

Anyway, yesterday when I read that quote, I thought of writing and my own journey as a writer, but I thought also of the process in analysis and therapy. Because it seems to me that he describes that process also. In analysis, the gaze also goes inward and the effort is to transform the images and feelings and memories into words, into words eventually transform experience and by opening new possibilities, make change. And we do this work with "patience, obstinacy, and joy" -- though the joy sometimes comes late to the experience.

* Thanks to Kathleen Valentine and her blog for this wonderful quote

© Cheryl Fuller, 2018. All  rights reserved.