The author Roger Rosenblatt says: “We write to make suffering endurable, evil intelligible, justice desirable and love possible.” So much more eloquent than my “Because I can’t not.” And so much more succinct than my list of ‘whys’ (it’s a question writers are asked frequently).
Often (almost daily) I write as meditation. Like breathing meditation (which I’m not particularly good at, even after all these years), writing helps me see my mind more clearly. Writing in my morning journal (Julia Cameron’s morning pages) Illuminates the driftwood that floats across the surface of my thoughts. If mind is a deep ocean — like the one I see from my vacation window today — then thoughts are driftwood, or sometimes the seductive pelicans riding thermals at eye-level past the balcony where I sit. They are nothing to do, really, w/ the vastness of the ocean, the deep quiet beneath the sometimes chaotic (even violent) surface. Writing helps me remember that.
It also helps me focus on the problem/ challenge/ issue that’s clouding my clear mind. Like figuring out I’m supposed to be a ‘grownup’ by now… 🙂 And then I can use writing (and do, as this blog shows) to process/ reflect on/ think about/ sometimes even solve that ongoing challenge. If I’m lucky!
Writing also communicates externally, of course — allowing me to do things like blog, recommend great friends & colleagues for jobs they’d fit perfectly, keep in touch w/loved ones who live much too far away.
Most of all, however — and perhaps, as Rosenblatt notes, the point of all these sub-categories — I write to make my own suffering bearable. In a year when the media is filled with hate & violence, I write in an attempt to voice love, compassion, and justice for those who have no voices. Or rather, have voices which are ignored, even violently silenced. I write to try to make sense of it all, this booming and often tragic confusion.
I know: it’s a grandiose intent. But if we don’t try, who will? And if we don’t do it now, when will the right time come….? Any thoughts you’d like to share?