Why I Write April 6, 2015 10:36 11 Comments
I have this blog on the new website, because I've decided to write more this year. I guess it's partly because I think have something to say – the curse of all bloggers. The allusions at my wit and wisdom are junk food for my ego. I'd be dishonest if I said that wasn't at least part of my desire to write. I hope that need dies slowly as I the remaining black hair turns gray.
The other reason I want to write, the bigger reason in some ways, is that writing helps me find myself in all the noise. In the forest of my mind, there are so many trees, so many leaves and birds and bushes that I don't have a clear path to walk. I need to work, to perform, to get things done by being productive and efficient. I also want to sit and do nothing. I want to hide from responsibility, and escape from the system. I want to rebel against the life I know I should live. I want to run and explore and see the world, meet and help people, be significant in my actions so that I do good things that live beyond me. I also just don't care. I want to take all my money and spend it on me – on something meaningless. I want to encourage and I want to pout. I want to rescue and I want to be rescued.
The contradictions that live in me are true and therefore are worthy of ink, and though not native they are now part of the landscape. But at any one point, there is something or at least a critical combination of specific somethings that is foremost right now. And it is hard to just watch the swirling leaves with my eyes, and actually see what matters. Writing forces me away from unlimited creativity. It pigeon-holes me into a place where I am forced to obey the rules. I can only hit one key at a time, and each word must work with the ones nearby to form cohesive thoughts. Each sentence must go somewhere related to the ones before and after. I cannot – I may not wander much in my thoughts. In fact, as I travel through the dense woods of my mind, I may not find the perfect path by writing, but if I will allow sufficient space to reach a way-point, the linear rules of writing mean that I will at least find someplace. It means that for a short space of time, I force myself to end up at one tree, maybe one leaf. And without having to admit that this tree or this one leaf is all-important or that all the others are any less, I can make space to reflect on one path and one thing to the exclusion of the others. And what I have found is that when finished, that one path leading to that one leaf remains in my memory. Often it remains as a special journey – a journey I can relive on the re-reading I necessary.
And because of how my mind is wired, that is a very useful thing. To this day I still reflect on some large lessons that I learned not because I experienced them as such, but because I wrote about them. And once written, I was able to see the path I took in a way that I could not before I wrote about it. I am not so much writing about experiences that I have already had, but I am experiencing things that I have missed as I traveled. It's like taking a vacation and going through the photos after I get home. I certainly saw all the things in the pictures I took, but the beauty or the oddness or the importance of it didn't strike me at the time, and only through the lens of my memory can I relive what I should have see on the first run through.
I'd like to think that if I do this enough, I will get better at seeing things along the path. I guess I hope to write to develop my need for writing, and at the same time, make the need for writing more irrelevant as I go. If I can use the exercise of putting down thoughts and keeping my mind on a leash as I write, maybe the muscles it develops will also provide insight in the real world.