I write to find out what I really think. I can find out what I think by talking, my favorite indoor sport. But what I really think lies beneath the sheer exercise and animal spirits of a good conversation, which involves batting a conversational ball around until you’ve exhausted what brought you together and you part, or change the subject. In writing, you are your own partner, plus a partner to all the books that changed you and were your intimate friends in the inner conversation that accompanies your life. You surprise yourself. You say things you didn’t know you knew, or didn’t know you’d noticed, and you build on what you’ve written down, doing, undoing, erasing, moving around, a carpentry of the word with the capacity to surprise the carpenter. Did I build that?
Often I hate what I am working on as I work on it, but usually, if it’s put away for long enough, I like reading it, almost as if I am reading somebody else’s writing. I think hey, that’s not bad, look what she’s doing here. Occasionally, I have no idea what I was getting at, which is also interesting. Writing allows me to explore a preoccupation, then step away from it, as if the writing embodies the preoccupation, which frees me, to move on to other things. I love life more because of writing, since the act asks you to notice what you love, and what you care enough to write about, and being susceptible to the written word or I wouldn’t be a writer, I believe what I’ve put on the page.
Myra Goldberg got her BA at the University of California-Berkeley and her MA at City University of New York. She is the author of Whistling and Rosalind: A Family Romance. Her stories have been published in The Transatlantic Review, Ploughshares, Feminist Studies, The Massachusetts Review, The New England Review, and in the book anthologies Women in Literature, Powers of Desire, The World’s Greatest Love Stories, and elsewhere in the United States and France. She is the recipient of Lebensberger Foundation grant and has been teaching at Sarah Lawrence since 1985.