Sunday, April 6, 2014

He Ain't Heavy

It's a long, long road with many a winding turn.
That leads us to who knows where, who knows where.
But I'm strong, strong enough to carry him.
He ain't heavy; he's my brother.

I've loved this song from The Hollies since I heard it as a child (and no, I'm not old enough to remember when it came out in 1969. I'm almost that old, but not quite). Over the years, its message has meant various things to me. Lately, it's come to reflect the journey I'm taking as a writer.

The road of a writer is indeed long, with many turns in the road, and you never quite know where you're going to end up. Oh, with an essay here, a letter there, a story, a poem, you may eventually find your way through the twists and turns to an ending that is satisfactory, but by and large, once one piece of writing is done, another one beckons. And you never know where it's going to take you.

But take those journeys. Each time you come to an end you see a new beginning. Take off again. Write. Continue to write.

Don't stop developing those talents. More importantly, keep what you write. Even if everything around it is bad in your eyes. Keep it. You never know when you're going to need it again. Back in college, I started writing a novel that I can see now was going to go nowhere. But I kept it. I kept it for a long time. And this week, as I revised my novel, a snatch from that other novel came to mind. I dug out the file and found that little bit of writing I remembered from so long ago fit perfectly in the bit of the new writing I'm doing now.

Keep what you write. RE-read what you write, and always write better. Keep on writing. And remember, your writing ain't heavy, it's your brother.

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