It’s snowing in Miami! I’m kidding but one would have trouble knowing with the UGGS and parkas making there way through the streets of my birth city in late February. When the temperature drops here, Miamians take it seriously. Of course our northern brethren are strolling around in flip-flops and shorts and as the two cultures pass one another there is a knowing glance. The nod of understanding that suggests that 65-degree weather in Miami can mean both a cashmere sweater or a bright orange tank top. It is an I know you know I know where you’re from and I know you know you’re not going to give me a hard time about it – at least not to my face. So what does this all have to do with literature or the writing life? Well, quite a bit actually.
Writing as we all know is a subjective art form. What we chose to write stems from our own experiences, biases and cultural references. Green might remind me of an avocado but remind a Vermonter of Christmas trees. We have different experiences and in that we share a collective appreciation, or at least we should, of each others nuances and particular experiences. Its what we can see in each other that best reflects how we see ourselves and how we see ourselves in our own crafts.
I can appreciate my writer friends who are introverts but I can’t honestly say I am one. By the same measure I love reading ghost stories, Dumas’ 1001 Ghosts is one of my all time favorites but I can’t for the life of me write in that genre. But I appreciate it when I see it. As writers we go through challenges with our stories and how to make them the best version of our intended vision. Then we hope to share them with people who can connect with our words and achieve. I find it fascinating how we work on our crafts and yet have entirely separate lives that help feed the craft we work on. Until we all become J.K Rowling or Pinchon or Roth or Atwood we are here feeding our craft, and working under the auspices of whatever it is we are doing. My work outside of my writing leads me to meet many different types of people. Yes, sometimes they’re wearing parkas in sixty-degree weather. Sometimes they’re hanging out in shorts. What makes me happy is that they are here. In Miami. Regardless of their attire. This makes me happy and allows me to reflect on the varied nuances of my craft.
We write because writing is what we wear inside of us. As we put it out in the world, we show the confidence that what we wear has no bearing on who we are but what we are and how we chose to be with our surroundings.