free of competition: advice from SARK

Cover of "Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper: Gift...

Cover via Amazon

“May my writer’s heart be free of competition, comparison or questing for money or recognition, and remember that we all write for everyone.” ~SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy OR Simple Acts of Random Kindness), Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper.

A year ago today I sat at the library, as I am now, and wrote a poem I later mailed to Ray Bradbury. He thought my name was Tom but that didn’t matter. I titled that poem after a line he wrote in his book Zen in the Art of Writing: When Their Souls Grew Warm. The passage he wrote was how everyone becomes poets when their pain is acute enough.

A carnival barker named Mr. Electrico told Bradbury as a boy that he needed to pursue the creative process. I’ve met many Mr. Electricos for whom I am forever grateful. Sometimes brief encounters shape who we are, not life-long relationships. If brief encounters make us write, more power to us. If they make us become the next Ray Bradbury or not so much the next Ray Bradbury, then that’s okay too.

SARK asks us to list the reasons why we don’t write. The last reason I listed, besides “I have to clean the bathrooms,” was I don’t know where it takes me. But I thought, so what? I’m not competing or comparing or questing. What a trap writers fall into when we think we need a place to go.

Right now I hear a child crying in the library as I stare out the windows with clouds whizzing by. Erle Stanley Gardner penned his Perry Mason mysteries here in Temecula. Something about all these hills surrounding this old west city inspired him. I’ll find that something when it’s my time.


One comment

  1. Lynne Bolinger · March 7, 2010

    Wonderful, Terri.

    Amateurs also believe two other lies: everything we write must be seen and if we just sit here and think and think long enough, a final draft will flow.

    Neither is true……….so much is lost when writers freeze at the blank page.


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