On Writing and on Salt Mines

When I think about writing in philosophical terms I am often reminded of a story my grandmother told me. It was about when she lived in Jefferson Island, Louisiana, as a little girl.

One day her father forgot his lunch pail and she had to bring it to him. He worked down in a salt mine. This was back in the day when safety concerns meant about as much as they do today.  So my grandmother was allowed to go down in the mine and bring her Papa his lunch.

She said when she walked into the room where the men gathered for lunch she was stunned.  They had carved tables and chairs and columns from enormous blocks of salt. Everything glittered and sparkled like a fairy tale.  She said it was one of the most beautiful things she had ever seen in her life.  Everything was white as snow and it glittered with magic.

My grandmother was in her late seventies when she told me this story. I remember watching her eyes. They were shining.

Writers work in a metaphorical salt mine. But it goes without saying some of us want to do more than scribble with Crayons.  We want to build chairs, and tables, and columns out of the salt.  We want to make writing a home.

The deeper I get into this business the more convinced I am there are some who don’t understand that desire. I guess they never will.

But they need to get out of our way.

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