The Dusty Muscle?

“We write to taste life twice: in the moment, and in retrospection.” -Anias Nin

The Dusty Muscle was created as an exercise routine for that part of my brain that’s gone stagnant over time. Back in the day, when I spent late evenings studying English grammar over a massive basin of old-fashioned, stove-popped buttery popcorn with mom (one of the perks of being home educated), I developed something of a passion for writing. It’s a fond memory I have of one evening in particular, in the usual cozy setting, studying punctuation, when I asked, “Mom, do we really have to go through this chapter? I think I know how to use semi-colons, periods, and exclamation points.” Her response stuck with me: “Your ability to communicate is going to be one of your most valuable assets in life.”

I fell in love with writing. I spent countless hours reading selections from the classics, with a particular obsession with Dickens. I wrote profusely, most of it (if not all of it) hardly worth saving except for posterity. Essays, short stories, and poetry. Sure, I’ve got a few favorites I’m still proud of; but reading them today one can taste that element of experimental, trying-to-sound-like-a-decent-writer, strain.

I enjoyed it for several reasons, but primarily because I loved the exercise – forcing my mind to formulate and structure my thoughts into something communicable, something organized, and something permanent. Writing helped me collect my thoughts into concrete ideas – it helped me learn.

Well, the passion never waned, but life happens to all of us, and it happened to me, too. Life changes bring new priorities, priorities take time, and time floats by ever more rapidly as we age. And as that precious commodity called time became less accessible and more valuable, writing for writing’s sake became a mere past-time.

Without writing, my thoughts have become scattered. My ideas have become arid. My mind has become a dusty muscle.

This blog is an exercise in mental clarity. To “learn as much by writing as by reading.” I hope you’ll take some pleasure from it. I invite you to comment, be my critic, offer suggestions, or simply enjoy at your leisure.


About A. S. Ellis

I am always learning. Always. And that is as it should be.
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