Shaun McNiff is internationally recognized as a founder and leading figure in the arts and healing field. University Professor at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he is past president of the American Art Therapy Association and the author of several other books including Art As Medicine, Trust the Process, and Creating with Others.
Write Out of Love or Anger
Writing is a long road. You need to be fueled along the way. Write about the anchovies your uncle made you eat off the pizza or the nape of the boy’s neck who sat in front of you in Spanish class or the green jealousy you felt when he put his arm around another girl.
All good writing is a blend of memory and imagination. Writing is so grueling, you have to either hate or love what you are writing about, and sometimes both at the same time. It is this passion, whether it takes the form of intense joy or sickening anguish, that often sustains writers. Writing about the simplest subjects can propel a person back and through the pain. Torture victims are often asked to write about a memory of food, and they find their way home through writing about deprivation and then the joy of warm bread and jam. You don’t have to be Proust or taste a madeleine to write well. Cinnamon toast or Cream of Wheat will do just fine.
From The Butterfly Hours: Transforming Memories into Memoir by Patty Dann