On writing a manifesto

I wrote my manifesto.

(Warning, hyperbole ahead.)

It was something I’d been thinking about for a long time, this writing a manifesto. Artists have artist statements, and musicians have anthems. Corporations and organizations have mission statements. They are everywhere. Plenty people, practicing living mindfully, talk about “intention.” I do, too. But without being too precious or writerly (please, please!) I wanted to proclaim my place in the world of words. Why I think it matters, what I do, what writers do. A manifesto seemed the thing to do.

It took a long time to write, because I kept thinking it would need to be perfect: like something that I would engrave on a plaque and hang on my wall. Fixed and permanent. But I finally realized that a manifesto will probably change, and probably should change, as I continue to learn about writing and what it means, to me, to be a writer. And you know what? That’s okay. It’s mine. I can change it. As many writers know and believe, any piece of writing is never really finished, you just stop working on it.

Still, it feels very strange to have written it (and now to be writing a blog post about it). The process was sort of like sitting in the passenger seat of a car going pretty fast on the highway, or maybe not that fast, maybe ambling on a more interesting road, maybe in the country, with trees that have lost their leaves, that stand like thin, silhouetted people, but at any rate, going fast enough in the car for there to be some wind when you open the window. And then the feeling of that burst of air–maybe you had to open the window because you were feeling carsick, or just too hot, or claustrophobic on a long road trip, canned in that weird car air, like you’ve been rolled into a can of sardines, without the oil and fishy smell.

Writing the manifesto was kind of like that. Posting this now is kind of like that. The exposure, which also sets you free.

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4 responses to “On writing a manifesto

  1. definitely agree that a writer’s manifesto will change over time. Writers change, so why wouldn’t their principles and goals? Part of what makes this such a great writing exercise is that it forces you to find yourself in the whole process. You look at what moves you forward versus what holds you back, grounding yourself in honesty, and then (hopefully) you move past all that, and grow, and reach a new level of ability, and develop a new set of challenges to overcome.

  2. I hope so! Thanks for posting. :)

  3. Words are not facts…or ARE they??

    Facts are simple and facts are straight
    Facts are lazy and facts are late
    Facts all come with points of view
    Facts don’t do what I want them to
    Facts just twist the truth around
    Facts are living turned inside out
    Facts are getting the best of them
    -Talking Heads

  4. (If David Byrne thinks they are…)

    “still waiting…I’m still waiting…”

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