Happy Writing?

by Mary Padilla

Attaching an emotion to writing – specifying one in advance – seems unlikely to succeed. How could you know what will pop up when it’s all about spontaneity?  Each thing leads to the next; if it’s working, it’s unpredictable. If we could anticipate it, we wouldn’t need to do it – or want to. What makes it interesting is finding out where it wants to go on its own. Such things are not subject to free will. Perhaps nothing is, but surely not such things. Let the pencil go where it wants and follow where it leads. If we’re leading it, it’s lemmings for sure. How can we know what we think until we see what we write?  

Art that can be planned is not worth doing. We need it to surprise us, as it always will if it comes from what we don’t know that we know. That way we’ll never be bored, nor will the reader. To be happy is to be engaged, to be interested in what’s coming next, and to want to be around to find out. This is why we show up – because we want to. And wanting something is necessary but not sufficient for being happy. We need to care about something enough to want it. Whether we get it or not is much less important, neither necessary nor sufficient. 

Not trying allows it to happen of itself, if we’re not invested in making it materialize. It’s not some product we’re after, but the experience of having it pass through us freely and without interference, not needing or wanting for it to be examined or perfected. Being unexpected, it will be original – there is no other choice.

If we’re happy writing, then we’re not thinking about whether or not we’re happy.  If we’re wondering whether we’re happy, we probably aren’t. If we’re happy to be happy, that’s about all it takes. It doesn’t matter what it is we’re happy about. And if we’re not happy in this moment, that doesn’t mean that we won’t be in the next one.  It’s just not predictable. These things can come and go without our knowledge or consent, but they’re not entirely beyond reach. Just keep writing.  And then comes the most important part: knowing when to stop. When whatever we add makes it worse, it’s complete – before we start to over-think and over-write, just STOP.  

Since joining the LP2 several years ago, Mary has been trying new things, like essay writing.