“As writers we live life twice, like a cow that eats its food once and then regurgitates it to chew and digest it again. We have a second chance at biting into our experience and examining it. … This is our life and it’s not going to last forever. There isn’t time to talk about someday writing that short story or poem or novel. Slow down now, touch what is around you, and out of care and compassion for each moment and detail, put pen to paper and begin to write.” —Natalie Goldberg
This idea is repulsive.
I’d prefer not to envision myself as a cow in any way. Furthermore, throwing up what I just ate? And pawing through it to find the good chunks to chow down again? Just thinking about it makes my stomach heave a little.
But I have done this in my writing.
I’ve ingested life through all my pores and then vomited the experiences onto the page.
It’s a matter of having taken in too much too fast and then needing to put all of it into one place so I can pick through it and draw out meaning.
I don’t have the words for anything unless I write it out. If it stays inside, it stays unnamed and unclaimed.
I ingest indiscriminately the first time. The second time I’m far choosier, and those are the things that stick to my bones.
I so wish this didn’t sound like a promotion for bulimia.