“One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”
Annie Dillard, a well-known naturalist and author, also has many insights about the skill of writing itself. She reminds us of the necessity of writing with passion and purpose — not waiting and not holding anything back — jumping in with both feet and no fear.
I hear in these words not only advice for writing but for living. In these days when it’s so easy to hold back because of our enforced limitations and fear of moving about in the world, I do not want to give up on living life fully — and safely, with the help of science and logic. Adorned in masks, hand sanitizer at the ready, and keeping our distance, there may still be ways we can jump into a fuller, happier existence while we wait for better times. We have to watch for opportunities. We have to be willing to “spend it all” right now.
For me, writing is my passion and purpose, as are my family and friends, and I will strive not to hold back one ounce of love.
Are we willing to take the plunge?