At the close of the writer’s retreat I attended recently, the moderators asked us to look back over our weekend’s work and consider which pieces worked best, and why. I jotted down a few words that described my favorite essays: “family” “relationships” and “love.” Then, reconsidering, I drew a big circle around the word “love,” because it encapsulated the first two words and so much more.
It was an eye-opening moment for me. I knew that the weekend had produced the truest, most raw, least polished work I’d ever done, so it was important to note that when I was forced to write fast and from the gut, I was writing from love. It was also the word that was most often used in response to my readings: “You can really hear the love that character feels,” or “There’s so much love between them.”
I don’t often think about the core of my writing or where the words come from. If I’d had to guess before the retreat, I would have been more likely to call myself a cerebral or “thinking” writer, rather than an emotional or “expressive” one. [Read more…]