random thoughts on writing and scenes from montreal

The mister brought a 40-pound box of apples home two weeks ago and as many times as I’ve wanted to clear my schedule and counter to make a hot apple pie, I haven’t. Roasted applesauce and dried apple rings, check. Lots of apples blended into smoothies, double check. Apples washed and eaten straight from the box, triple plus check.

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I’ve chosen practical and healthful ways to preserve the fruit without allowing a little decadence in. What’s that about? I’ll tell you. I’m writing and daydreaming and staring at a computer screen willing my guts, heart, and breath to assemble into a story, any story, scattered words on the page will do just fine for the day, thank you very much. I’m also reverting to my childhood habit of feverishly biting my nails as I get closer to the fear and truth in opening up the bloody truth chamber. That sounded a little horrific, sorry. I’m also scanning film shot in Montreal and remembering the thrill of experiencing the city for the first time. What happens if we impart this feeling into our writing practice?

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I admit it. It’s easier to write about the process of writing than cutting into the pulpy center. What am I getting at here? Writing is tough. It begs us to wake up and to examine the fine lines etched into our personal histories. To work at each sentence like a wood carver does, transforming felled branches into sleek modernist constructions (I’m thinking about Frank Lloyd Wright here). To be confident and brave and willing to fail. To fall flat into literary cliches and muddled mediocrity.

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Writing, good writing that is, demands we find a way to make our way to the roof top in the middle of a torrential rain storm, without a ladder or an easy way up. The only things we have going for us in such a predicament is a pair of sturdy rain boots and our imagination. We must fight against potential dangers (like lightning and death). We must be stronger than the mighty uncontrollable forces pulling us down. With pen and paper (waterproof in this case or maybe we use a voice recorder, phone, or fill in the imaginary blank), we possess the ultimate secret weapon: words.

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Here’s my call to action. Go forth and write. Bleed your pen dry. Type your fingers numb. Do whatever it takes. As often as possible.

I’m off to write.

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Then make pie.


  1. says

    This post made me crack a smile because I know exactly how you feel. I always used to hear that writers are the worst procrastinators, but I never believed it until I left the encouraging warm blanket of college writing workshops. “To work at each sentence like a wood carver does” — that sounds like some mighty fine writing to me.

    • ArtandLemons says

      Nicole, It’s true. Writers are notorious procrastinators. It must be in the DNA! Thanks for your vote of confidence too.

    • ArtandLemons says

      Jess, Thank you! I’m so glad you found it helpful. That’s my hope, to out my own struggles in order to create support and community. We can do this!

  2. says

    I sometimes find making pie (or, weirdly washing dishes) helps me move the boulder and unleash a small torrent of words. Good luck with your writing — and may the pie help!

    • ArtandLemons says

      Ann Mah, It’s the same for me with dishes since it’s a daily ritual (no dishwasher here)! I’ve also started using the voice memos app to record the words that usually flow by unnoticed. Thanks as always for the encouragement.

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