Saturday, December 7, 2013
If It Be Thy Will by Leonard Cohen has been speaking to me lately and I recommend listening to the song (posted below.)
I am writing memoir and Cohen's song pretty much describes my writing process. A memoir involves taking the stuff of one's life, as though clay, and creating a third thing with it, hopefully art. It involves telling the truth, a loaded subject in the world of publishing over the past decade (another blog post altogether.)
I agree with those who say truth is critical in memoir. However, it is emotional honesty I am striving for; no, not striving, rather, it is being demanded. It is not facts I am concerned with or some chronological rendering of the events of my life, it is some deeper truth.
I now understand what writers over the ages have referred to as the muse. My muse requires from me not only honesty, but a true voice, although I am writing from a broken hill, as Cohen sings. I am writing to end the night...to let the rivers fill. I am not in charge. The muse is and for that, I am grateful.
Each day, before writing, I light a candle. I play this song. I ask that mercy spill onto the page, that my burning heart be made well. I ask that the tattered rags of memory be clothed in light. I ask to be let to sing.
If it be Thy will.