"You have what most every one else has: some means, shelter, good food, happy things to do, movies, books, television shows, sports, music, friends, family; you have all that--and this, the writing. This is extra, and important, and very, very fortunate. And if you can do it at all, you are morally obligated to pursue it; it is not an indulgence, it's what you're SUPPOSED to be doing.
course it is tremendously difficult to do well because you have to wend
through the thickets of your own being to get to the heart of
things--you have to reach that place where you are past your own
conscious knowledge; in fact you have get to where you surpass yourself,
in a way eradicate yourself--let go of everything you think you think
and everything you think you know, and all your personal baggage, and
all the matters that show you in the best light. You have to do what
Robert Penn Warren said: go naked into the dark, the unfamiliar, even
the terrifying. Go in without any attitudes or opinions to shield you,
and bring forth the experience itself, the very thing itself, which
always feels like a surprise, because you have let go all those
comfortable assumptions and expectations; and if you can do that, if you
can be faithful to it, then you can recover the direct gaze of the
child you were, by simply trying to be clear.
Good writing, it seems to
me, always involves a shedding of the SELF as one knows it and has
developed the long habit of seeing it. Contrary to how it is usually
perceived, even by those trying so hard to do it, there is nothing
remotely selfish about it. This is not to say it is charity, although in
its way, if it is any good, it partakes of charity; this is not to say
it is altruistic, either. It is simply a form of necessary sloughing off
of the daily grasping and pulling of the self. So get to work, friends.
There's only so much time to shake off the dust of worry and doubt and
all those petty blindnesses we call adulthood."