Here’s Will Buckingham on writing and difficulty. Worth a read! I don’t know how to embed the blog into my post, so here’s the link.
Writing can indeed be a pleasure–most of the time! There are periods of difficulty when I feel frustrated, but those periods make for puzzles and challenges; and I enjoy puzzles and challenges. They push me, force me to stretch a bit, engage with what’s not so simple or superficial, change my perspective, alter my expectations and assumptions, discover something new. I learn from these experiences. I would not want life to be easy all the time, nor would I want creative writing to be easy all the time. Although it’s pleasing to lie in a hammock on a mid day and sip a cold drink and listen to the birds and read a book…pleasure also encompasses inventive challenges. Motivation. Inspiration. Different forms of joy.
Buckingham mentions a biography of the writer and artist Tove Jansson, best known in the USA for her Moomintroll series but clearly a creative artist of the first rank. I’d put this book on my reading list, but it is at present only available in Finnish! Marina Popova at Brainpickings has posted some of Jansson’s vivid illustrations of Alice in Wonderland here.
On the pleasures of difficult reading, please see my past posts here, here, and here.
Thanks, Ann. Those Alice in Wonderland images are stunning. The Tove Jansson biography is translated and available from Sort Of books (I think I might struggle just a little bit with the Finnish or the Swedish…). Worth tracking down and adding to your list… http://sortof.co.uk/books/life-art-words/
Thank you!! (As if I haven’t got enough books piled by the side of my bed…)
Sometimes, I think writing is difficult because it does provide such pleasure in other moments. I believe this is akin to what you are saying regarding challenges and puzzles. However, there are those days when difficulty “persists like Japanese knotweed.” I loved that phrase! It was a great post and thanks for bringing it to our attention.
Yes, that phrase got me, too. So apt. I’ll have to employ it in everyday speech. Thanks, Will!