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Feeling The Way Backwards

I write between the broken pieces of unwanted sentences. I take it slowly, searching always for the perfect note of quiet. When the great ones talk of their passionate drafts, their weeks of beautiful madness giving way at last to the scrupulousness of editing, I know I will never be great myself, because I'm obviously doing it wrong. It's hard to believe in yourself when you're small in a world of overflow.

I wonder, how many women never go beyond private pages of small, fine-boned stories, because literature is strong imagery, powerful phrases, emphatic plots? I wonder too, how many artists, surrounded by brazen displays and technicolours, believe their delicate visions are not art?

It feels to me when I write that I'm not putting the story word by word onto the screen, but instead drawing the words out of the white. Feeling for story, rather than composing. And so the sentences get typed then backspaced then retyped, coming slowly into their own shape. It's a backwards way to do it, apparently.

I wonder, how many people in this world are doing things backwards and never say so, for fear of being called wrong? For that matter, I wonder who decided what was the right direction at all?

illustration by ethel jackson morris


  1. i like the word 'widdershins', as opposed to backwards...there's a sense of doing things differently, yes, but also a space for that! and it's a choice: one may choose to do things widdershins because it suits one, or to effect a certain kind of magic.

    the moon is not less beautiful than the sun because less brightly shining. only different...

    (on another track entirely, i love the image above. and it is the 3rd white deer image i have seen this morning, following on several days of thinking about deer and women and dreams of a white hart running... not sure where this is going but it feels exceedingly compelling!)

    1. That image was chosen deliberately. It's going somewhere for me. :-)

    2. And widdershins... i love that word, love your idea.


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