The Joy of Writing
Writing is a way of being for me as natural as breathing. I’m more comfortable writing than I am speaking. I feel more real, naked and revealed when sharing writing than I do sharing conversation.
Listening to others share their spontaneous words gives me a window into their unconcerned with what the world thinks selves. To take someone in raw and naked, undefended and without army is as intimate as making love.
I know writing isn’t everyone’s native tongue. I’ve loved people who prefer to share the chopping of vegetables, who would rather parallel play in a kayak or hiking the same trail but don’t need to inhabit the interior together.
For me, not writing is like trying to see before I’ve got my glasses on in the morning. I can make out basic colors and shapes but I can’t read, drive or be trusted with tweezers.
Writing helps me know my world and myself. It’s the way I discover what I think and feel and that clarity of feeling makes me the best kind of transparent – vulnerable and without walls.
The truth is, writing allows me space, distance and down-shifting. Sometimes other people overstimulate me or I just can’t manage to focus on eyes, words and the surroundings all at the same time. The blank page is a moment of silence, a reprieve from new stimulus and the way I empty the trash from the in-box of my mind.
It can take me minutes or days to process my own reactions to real-life events and conversations. I absorb too much sometimes. Other times I miss half of what I’ve seen.
Writing is a way of slowing down the world which often seems to move too quickly for me to keep up. Writing allows me to discover what’s under a grumpy mood alone and on the page – as opposed to just raging.
Since I was a girl of 111 getting my first journal, I’ve written to converse with the deepest and most shallow parts of myself. My hope is that by digging deep I can find my highest motivations and react less with knee-jerk emotions or impulses – mine.
I’m not sure how much I would write if I were more outgoing, less sensitive and more at ease with group and people. I’ll never know because my tendency is towards introversion and reflection. Much of the world may be outgoing but it’s not the way I feel the most relaxed in my skin.
I’m reflective and writing lets me get to suck on the same piece of hard candy twice. The first time it goes in my mouth, it’s fine but fast and gone too soon. Writing lets me tongue linger on the sharp glass textures and how it smoothed into near transparency as the peppermint or butterscotch filled my mouth. Long after the actual candy has dissolved I get another chance to swim in the rich, sweetness of experience. I used to feel I wrote because I missed an experience in real time.
Now I think writers are lucky for being able to zoom in or zoom out on most anything internal or external.We get to marinate in moments and feel each arch, breath and stretch of any pose life puts us in.
Writing can be beautiful art or personal catharsis. It can be a doorway to memory or a window for introspection. Sometimes it is skill and craft. Most often, it’s spiritual exercise that help me work out toxins and grow my awareness muscle.
When I hear people say, “I can’t write,” or “I’m not a writer,” I want to argue and say, “Everyone has a story” and “life is better on writing.”
But I know not everyone shares this passion.
For those who do – we are a tribe. We know writing isn’t but required, urgent and necessary.
Writing can be the cool breeze that neutralizes the heat of intensity boiling in skin. Words can pound paper the way some hit pavement and irritation can fall out like sweat on tar. This is good for everyone, makes me more kind and compassionate and keeps my tongue from becoming a sword cutting into conversation or checking out entirely.
My writing can be the deep crawl towards the finish line after a race I had once thought my body incapable of running. It can be the simple strutting out in hot pink sneakers and a matching t-shirt because that’s the outfit best for chasing the clouds on the beach like a dog fetching a tennis ball.
I don’t need to be an athlete to benefit from exercise,, don’t have to be a yoga teacher to benefit from downward dog. Just because I don’t have a religion doesn’t mean I can’t pray. Sometimes I need to swim into the ink until I can make words or sense.
Writing helps me turn my scared place within into something sacred and that is reason enough for any practice.