Saturday, August 23, 2008

Writing as Pilgrimage

"Don't be fooled into thinking you are supposed to arrive at a destination. It is the going that is central, the you that is going. Your pilgrimage is really about yourself observing your own transit across the landscape."
~ Richard Leviton, "Designing Your Pilgrimage"

Writing is also an act of pilgrimage.

We set out on a journey, often intent on a particular direction and destination. Yet if we're true to our art and to our heart, we free the story to carry us where it will.

The resulting journey is one that reveals not only the story we're writing but the one we're living.

When we listen for the stories that move through us, we also discover the story that is us.

How has your writing been a pilgrimage? What has it taught you -- about yourself, about your work, about the world?

Photo by Mark David Gerson: Sandia Mountain Road, Albuquerque, NM


motherwort said...

My thesis, in a nutshell. I find I am especially paying attention to this. I am re-working a story written during the darkest, lowest point of my life. It was true but bitter, an unhappy, hopeless tale that said as much about me as my characters. It's still dark but has turned into a ghost story, a story of self-possession. I think I may almost be through the tunnel; I certainly see the light. Can't wait to see what else is there, waiting.

It is a pilgrimage, writing, every story a holy journey to ourselves. Thanks as always for helping me remember what I always knew but forgot.

Mark David Gerson said...

"It is a pilgrimage, writing, every story a holy journey to ourselves."

Beautifully put, Sue. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Don't you ever wonder if you're hurting someone by writing about your life and observations? And does it make you pause? Or have a care that you'll be shunned by everyone you've cared about and have come to depend upon as a good friend?

As an Indigo, I have just written one heck of a blog and/or e-mail and am afraid to post it. Oh well, it's not as if the peops who know me think I'm a regular sort, anyway! *laugh*

Thanks and bb,

Mark David Gerson said...

That's a good question, Suze, and there's no easy -- or universal answer.

I can only speak for myself here. My call is to be open to sharing my life and to be okay being vulnerable in the world.

At the same time, I do my best not to write about my life and experiences in a way that could be hurtful to anyone identified in my pieces.

As for being judged or shunned because of what I've written, it happens -- but only rarely.

Ultimately, only you can decide what is appropriate for you to share out in the world and what is best kept to yourself.

Richard Galbraith said...

i absolutely believe in this, and it's interesting how the quote you've highlighted says that you may never reach the end.

With my first novel, the point entirely was a voyage of self exploration. To help me decide on some of my personal beliefs and i'm nearing the end of the novel and i feel just as confused as ever, it's an interesting set of circumstances for sure!

Anonymous said...

What a lovely, inspiring post.



Mark David Gerson said...

Thanks, KJ, for stopping by and leaving your comment.

Mark David Gerson said...

Richard: That's the thing about journeys of self-discovery -- we can never get the whole story because we're constantly growing and changing!