If someone were to establish a self-help group called Writers Anonymous, I would go to the local chapter, walk up to the front, and confess: “My name is Ed M., and I am a writer.” Then I would start the twelve-step process to get this addiction under control. I’ve written way too many books; now it’s time to kick the habit.
Well . . . maybe the situation isn’t quite so bad as that. Writing can indeed be addictive, and there are genuine drawbacks to a compulsive tendency to view and shape experience primarily through words. At my current stage of life, I’ve grown more skeptical of what a literary approach, even a literary discipline, can require of a writer—of the toll it can take by placing more and more perceptual filters between oneself and the world. At the same time, I continue to believe that if thoughtfully practiced, writing can be a yoga (union) or a dharma (path) leading to removal of those same filters. Thus the paradox. Thus the quandary.
So, who knows. Maybe I’m using this blog as a compass to find my way. Maybe I’ll also use posts as sketches to create a map (for lack of a better word) of what I’m trying to explore. And the “map” . . . what would that be? In the long run, perhaps a book—a book written slowly, cautiously, non-compulsively, non-addictively.
Editors, publishers, fellow literary junkies, NSA snoops, and anyone else interested in the backstory can read the fine print in the attached PDF.