As part of ACPA creator Kathy Mac's "Wording Around with Prose" webinars, ACPA managing editor Jamie Kitts responds to their chosen text for lesson 2.1: Writing as a Way of Healing by Louise DeSalvo. This blogpost covers Chapter 5: "The Healing Power of the Writing Process."
I have always approached writing from a deeply secularized perspective. Like I said earlier, I am not a writer who finds salvation in their art. But maybe that doesn't work for me anymore -- maybe I've been this way not because I don't know otherwise, but because I haven't tried to write from an integrated perspective.
I don't know if I can. That might be like asking someone who doesn't experience inner monologue to suddenly develop inner monologue. But what if it's like learning to breathe with your diaphragm?
DeSalvo advocates for writing in this chapter based on Japanese aesthetics: that we write as though it were natural rather than difficult; that we consider writing as integral rather than removed; that observing our regular writing patterns be an instructive act. I think I already do that third thing. But as I've mentioned before, I don't write naturally or consider it integral to my person.
A few nights ago I saw someone tweeting about how she had a hard time describing herself pre-transition. There's something really compelling in that idea: when your identity doesn't match your self, reconciling the two is impossible until you figure out what's wrong. The work then becomes sorting out what's actually integral to you.
So, I guess I'll find out soon if writing is actually integral for me or not. Maybe it will always be a removed talent rather than an integral skill. I hope not. And, actually, I don't think so. Reading this book, as well as Jack Hodgins's A Passion for Narrative last month, definitely lit something inside me again. Could be I just need to rethink and re-experience my approach.
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