Saturday, May 31, 2014
For the Love of Writing
"Ne te quaesiveris extra."
Man is his own star; and the soul that can
Render an honest and a perfect man,
Commands all light, all influence, all fate;
Nothing to him falls early or too late.
Our acts our angels are, or good or ill,
Our fatal shadows that walk by us still.
~EPILOGUE to BEAUMONT and FLETCHER's
Honest Man's Fortune
I heard the other day (for the umteenth time) that blogging was not writing, and that bloggers were not writers, at least not in the conventional way. A writer always hears an admonition in such claims, let the truth be what it may. The sentiment this idea instills is of more value than any thought intended to reinforce it. To believe one is not a writer when one indeed writes, to believe that only published authors are writers - that is ridiculous. True, published authors are perceived as being more credible. Publishing is a professional activity and thus one is correct in attributing credibility to the enterprise. But, publishing is just that: an enterprise. Publishing and writing, as I have discussed in prior posts, are not the same thing.
When we speak to that portion of our brain that holds latent convictions, which eventually become adopted as a sort of universal sense, we find that these convictions eventually make their way into our future belief systems. Our first thought often times renders our latter ones by trumpets of the Last Judgment. Until such beliefs are examined under new light, against new paradigms, they are just that: judgments: unexamined beliefs without merit, though we may ascribe them to be the highest when the moment to defend them arises.
Writers benefit from recognizing commonality, by relating on a more universal level as being "writers" - individuals whose inner compulsion requires that they express themselves through the medium of the written word.
"There is no other way to silence the voices, but to write," a fellow writer friend of mine told me, and I couldn't agree more.
Writers write for many reasons, but one reason the majority of writers write is that the act of writing is soothing. It not only quiets the voices, it brings them together in a harmonious resonance that can be enjoyed. This is where the love of writing arises for me, in the enjoyment I experience when all the thoughts line up, organize, and come together in a coherent whole. This is not to say that stray thoughts are not lurking around the coherent campfire, but for the moment they are the distant voices of wolves howling in the jungle, deep in the recesses of my subconscious, while I am nestled and content, here with myself, sitting by the warmth and glow of a coherent moment.
However coherency is found, it is something humans seek - be it through writing, through art, through music, or through one's professional accomplishments. We all need those moments when we can sit back and take a much-needed breath, and then exhale. The finished product, be it a book or a blog post, is akin to an exhalation: the culmination of thoughts and ideas that made their way into letters and words which form sentences and paragraphs and content and meaning. Whether anyone else derives meaning from the enterprise is a secondary aspect of the endeavor.
Great works of self-expression have no more affecting lesson that this. They teach us to abide by our truest nature with good-humor and understanding that the voices that drove us to do so are the voices that bring coherency with them once understood and organized. Whether we write or paint or sing or dance or invent new products, the fact that we do so is primarily about transforming the faint and inaudible voices we hear in our heads, bringing them to life so that they may exist in the world.
It is as if we are conduits for existence, allowing what resonates with us to pass through us. Our only responsibility is to organize the flow. Should we desire to make a profession of that activity, should we desire to profit from it, we have the opportunity to create, package, and sell those experiences. But not selling these experiences does not diminish the enterprise. It merely means that our needs are met elsewhere.
Much of what we call "culture" is the organization of whatever it is that is flowing through the universe wishing to be seen, heard, experienced, and potentially understood. Society has joint-stock in bringing aspects of existence to life. Thinking may be a private affair, but the moment we transform those thoughts to words, images, sound, or to invention, is the moment those thoughts interest others.
Until comes the moment when I actually write, until the words escape, until my paintbrush starts moving, do I know what will emerge. As I write, as I paint, I am experiencing the organization first-hand. All creation feels this way for me, whether I created it or not. Hence, I do not feel an inner compulsion to protect that which I create. I dare say it was never mine to begin with. I may have a hand in organizing it, which allows me to stamp my name on it, but I have often found that the most difficult part of creating a painting is signing my name to it. Somehow it is the only part that doesn't need to be there.
Traditional publishing is an unnecessary aspect of writing for me. As with my painting, I write for the love of writing.
I simply enjoy the experience.