Apprenticeship

Writers.  Writing.  Ernest Hemingway once said, “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

For writers, writing is at once practice and breath.  Writers cannot live without writing, cannot live without creating, without that constant striving to reach the pinnacle of a mountain that always seems to grow just beyond your current spot on the trail.

Most of what I write just fills various notebooks I keep around the house; they litter the floor next to my bed, hang out on the table and couch corners, fill up my closet cubbies and my shelving cubes, take up space in my oversized handbag.  Regardless of the location, they all share one thing in common:  they contain my musings, my stream of consciousness rantings, my worries, my happiness, my grief, my pride, my fears, my love, my anger, my breath.  The majority of what I write I wouldn’t publish, as it’s the reflection of my inner mind, but occasionally I spit out something particularly pithy or witty, and I find myself drafting something I want to be seen.

I must write every day.  I don’t feel awake or alive until I’ve opened my mind and let the contents flow down my arm and onto the paper.  It is likely that nobody will ever read most of what I write, except perhaps my child when he cleans out my house after I’ve lived my life and have moved on from this earth.  Even then he probably won’t be particularly concerned with the daily minutiae of my life or musings thereon, but that doesn’t matter to me.

Writing is coffee for me.  I need to cleanse my mind each day as surely as I need to have my morning cup of coffee.  It matters not whom my audience is, or even if I have an audience.  It’s just what I need to do to function, to feel my limbs come alive, to feel the breath move through my lungs and energize my muscles, to fuel my cells.

Sometimes, if I’m really lucky, somebody might find something of interest in what I think and say.  Once in a while my thoughts might matter to someone besides me.  And maybe my daily practice, the practice of which Hemingway spoke, might one day be just enough to get me to the next level on the trail so I can see past the clouds to the pinnacle, even if only for a moment.

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