In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

Writers Are Spider Mistresses

7 Comments

A time for telling truth has come upon us now.
We needn’t lie to get us through these times
You see it in my eyes and writ upon my brow.
No need to say you understand these rhymes.

When writing is the mistress:

“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.” – Winston Churchill

credit: a3.files.biography.com

First a mistress then a master, does Churchill mean that at first writing a book is alluring, a release into a world of pleasure, and then it becomes dominating, controlling, and confining like an addiction or a duty? In other words, it starts with the idea of writing a book, the germ of a subject that could spread into thousands of words, which inflames the contagion that impels the fingers to tap in order to scratch the itch and twitch of adrenaline desire-thought. The impassioned writer proclaims, “There is a book in me.”

But after the initial caffeinated burst of bluster-strained strands of webbed words–clever and comely–the chore of the work settles in, each day pouring water into the well to keep the once deemed fertile land irrigated and quell the fires of doubt and douse the flames of drudgery in the daily threat of stage five alert word draught. When the ideas stop flowing, the writing is a task of terrible resistance and fear sets in. The writer frets, “I don’t have enough, not good enough, not enough heart, authenticity, interest. But I have invested so much time and ink, I can’t stop now.”

Or was Churchill a switch hitter and he just means that writing a book is like loving a woman–not your wife–being in her control or under her spell, and then like loving a man?

No, he means that writing enslaves. It is an enormous envelope of time and thought, and the promise of her–writing–what she potentially makes of her lover–writer–is a sculptor of marble ideas smoothed into delightful statues of truthful experience and penetrating insight whose vision inscribes beauty into the minds of those envisioning the word figures and rests there completing that mind, that reader, who is forever changed or confirmed or comforted by some moral missive, sublime image, or worldly flavor.

In reality, the writer is a whittler of wood who shapes a block into a toy sailboat by toiling away at the carving craft hour by hour to make animation from the inanimate. The writer makes sound from ink. Perhaps it is this need to be heard and to connect with another human being that is the real potential that arouses the desire–the ultimate desire–that causes the penner to heed the call of the word, arise each day, wipe away the sticky, silken threads of the dreamscape, to hack away at the mental chains of complacency and write. That same desire thereafter ensnares her in the matrix of predator and prey, reader and read, writer and book, the book she violently tosses at her readers.

The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Up came the sun and dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again.

Writers are spider mistresses.

credit: wondersinthedark.files.wordpress.com

7 thoughts on “Writers Are Spider Mistresses

  1. “The writer makes sound from ink. Perhaps it is this need to be heard and to connect with another human being that is the real potential that arouses the desire…”

    “Sound from ink”…

    The poet creates a melodic line that hums within the reader nurturing glee or sadness; remorse or reflection; resolve or resignation.

    The essayist confronts or confirms; engages or decries; incites or assuages; implores or defends.

    The novelist creates a grand symphony of movements filled with passion that swells the heart, enriches the soul, and inspires the mind.

    Writers spill their ink upon the page and their pen becomes their brush. Some are Van Goghs pushing and forcing colors into place, creating scenes of tortured passion and intent, culled from their peripatetic souls clamoring for space above the human fray. Others are simply whisperers content to bring forth their reflections to gaze upon as did Narcissus, and are despairing souls desperate for personal courage.

    But all are forced laborers seeking diamonds from mines of coal, digging deeper and deeper into dark tunnels sans canary, unsure of the tunnel’s depth or if they will return to the surface, and whether they will lug treasure or nothing.

  2. There is an old Japanese saying: It takes Level to see Level. The more one knows about a writer’s plight, the deeper the appreciation of one who stands outside that experience, but more likely that person being the reader it was intended for.
    The best writing seems to happen so easily, a sure sign of a pro, make it look easy. How can any writer resist this testament to their toil?

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