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Talk With Me

May 3, 2011

Something very special is going on over at Hippocampus Magazine. There’s the excitement over  a new magazine that both celebrates and discusses creative nonfiction writing (a genre which, by the way, will be the subject of a number of upcoming posts). There’s the excitement over a new magazine at all. There’s the gushy feeling I have, the honor of being part of the inaugural issue, and with a piece that includes the hippocampus no less. But what’s really special, to me, is the conversation that’s happening over there. Above anything else, conversation is what I value, and conversation is what I hope for when I write.

Writing something down, I find, is involuntary. Crafting something into an artful piece is a rush. Having it published is a rush, too, no doubt about that. When Hippocampus went live, I emailed a friend to share my jitters. And publishing is a necessity, if you’re looking for various career options.

But the opportunity to use a piece of writing as a platform for conversation … that’s when writing stops being something I do and becomes more something I am.

No … that isn’t quite right.

That’s when writing becomes something we all do, something we as writers and readers share. A piece no longer feels like mine that way. Instead, it’s my offering to the conversation, and whatever it makes readers think, well, that’s their offering to the conversation. Readers bring thoughts they had way before they ever read my piece, and I bring thoughts I had way before I ever wrote it. And soon we’re all just having this conversation (in this case, about childhood memory). Call it the ultimate round table discussion, a la Fourth Genre (another publication I love). At a certain point, though a piece originated with me, it feels more like ours. Call me kumbaya crazy, I don’t really care, cause in writing, I don’t ever feel lonely.

All of this is leading to an admission that when someone brings something to the conversation that evokes my spit and boils my blood, well, I’m just not sure how to make sense of it, how to accept that person’s point of view and consider it as valid as all the others. Alas. Let’s leave things nestled in peaceful (kumbaya crazy) thoughts this evening.

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One Comment
  1. Loved your essay, Suzanne! And what a great place for it. Since I have kept journals for so long, it might not surprise you to learn that I place a high value on memories. I understand why you would go to such lengths to try to retrieve early ones. Aren’t memories mirrors, after all? They tell us so much about ourselves.

    Also, I’m HAPPYhappy to learn your book is well on it’s way; “Kumbaya Crazy” sounds like the perfect name for a camp we can all form around it the moment you say Go! 🙂

    Like

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