I love to teach, but to say I teach writing is somewhat inaccurate. My goal for my students, as for myself, is to find the connection to the source of our creativity. Once a creative person is tapped into this source, he doesn’t don’t need a teacher – or an editor, or an agent, or even readers; all those things will come later. When a creative person is tapped into this source, they don’t need anything, because they already have exactly what they set out to find. It is easier sometimes to talk about our writing itself – the words on the page, the characters, the scenes – all the myriad choices that can be made and unmade as quickly as we change our minds. After all, we can see the words and the scenes and the characters, and we can erase them or move them about or suggest more words, scenes, and characters. Our stories are like homes we furnish and paint, homes we invite others to share when they read what we have written.
These homes have addresses and are easily found. The source of our creativity, that which builds all the homes that have ever been built, is not so easily located. I can point toward that source, but I cannot lay my finger on it. It exists beyond the reach of any hand or eye, and yet all that we touch and see has sprung from it. It is easy sometimes to believe that only what I can touch and see truly exists. It is particularly easy to believe this when I have lost all track of my creative source. In those moments that source feels like a fairy tale, a myth built to betray the gullible.
It is an unhappy moment, and because I always want to be happy, I begin rearranging all my words and scenes and characters in search of the pleasure in which I once believed. The more I do this, the less what I have written means, until by and by I collapse in frustration and despair. I give up, I declare. There’s no point! And there isn’t. There is no point on the grid of life where I can rest, there is only where my attention has pointed me all my life, and I need only turn that way and I am home again.
"A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.
You can find Bill at: williamkenower.com