“When I can’t write, I write. I write without expectation. I sit down and make the tips of my fingers touch the cool keys of my laptop, feel the connection, and let the words fall out without judgment. I ask. I explore. I release. I figure I can throw it all away anyway. I write for nothing more than relief. I don’t worry about being stuck in my writing because it is the writing itself that unsticks me. It is the magic made from letting the words slide out, collect, gather, bounce off each other; the childhood game of word association. No rules other than keeping the words coming. The one who stops loses.
For me it is this act of forcing myself to speak that summons the one who listens, the one who stands beside me, watching, guarding, keeping the critics at bay, the one that poet Elizabeth Austen calls the compassionate observer. When I crouch over the keyboard, disgorging what hurts too much to hold in, purging what I cannot digest, it is my muse who stands next to me, her hand firm on my curved spine, murmuring encouragement. It is she who gives me strength, who tells me, Keep going. Don’t stop. Keep writing.”
—Catharine H. Murray, author of Now You See the Sky (Akashic Books, 2018)