‘But if a book has brought you from one place to another, so that you see something you didn’t see before, you’ve arrived at another point.’ James Baldwin, The Paris Review 1984.
My writing group, Elwood Writers, is to release its anthology in November of this year. Every Second Tuesday is a collection of fiction, memoir and poetry drawn from work we have produced, published and recorded over the last ten years. You’ll learn more about it in the coming months here, and at the Elwood Writers website.
In editing my stories for the collection, I started thinking about James Baldwin’s quote. When you write, you might start off at one place – with one idea in mind – and by the end find yourself in a completely different spot – often unexpectedly.
Writing helps me refine my thinking. I make connections that I hadn’t seen before. In ‘The Lamb’ – a short memoir – I see my mother in a new light. I connect the spirit animal she believes herself to be, with the pet lamb I had and adored as a child. New patterns emerge that give shape to a life.
Writers are fortunate to be able to pursue their ideas through story. Baldwin claims he only finds what he’s really getting at by exploring his fiction or essay to its very end. One contemporary poet says you may only realise what your poem is actually about when you read it for the twentieth time. This way the reader can even make discoveries alongside you.
Stay tuned in the coming months for more updates on Every Second Tuesday, and for more about the writing process itself.