Saturday, September 12, 2009

Writing vs. Having written

I asked a Hamline workshop once how many of them actually liked to write and most of them preferred having written: the pride in finishing, the appearance at a local book store, the feel of the book or magazine in one's hand.

Only a few preferred the quotidian: sitting down with two or three hours, a cup of coffee or tea, the favorite pen, the notebook with its inviting blank pages. I know painters who love the paint over the painting and potters who prefer clay to bowl. Even my mechanic likes the wrench and the spark plug more than the sound of the tuned engine. And once Buddy the cat has patiently stalked the bird beside the avocado tree, once it's dead he just stares at it.

Ron Koertge


  1. Lovely images Ron, thank you. I'm pretty sure I was once one of the "Having Written" people but at some point I fell in love with the puzzle-solving part of writing and then changed sides. Besides, once done with a project and it's offered up to the readers, it's theirs. I imagine Buddy sometimes drags that bird to someone's porch, as if to say, Look what I did. But I also bet that trip to the porch never keeps him from huntng for too long.

  2. Asking a graduate student if he likes writing is like asking a dental patient if he likes having oral surgery. The process can be painful, yet it is worth it.

    Now that I am done with graduate school, I do find myself LOVING the writing process. I did not feel that way when my packet due date was quickly approaching and my muse was taking a hike somewhere. It's all a matter of perspective.