Jul 7, 2013

on writing

I don't understand why anyone would try to write

I don't mean this is in some sort of degrading or falsely provocative fashion

I understand why people DO write, and I understand why I write

But I have noticed a trend of websites, movements, blogs and so forth in which people take on challenges, or begin a writing ...regimen, in the seeming hope of providing more words, and this baffles me.

I have, at times, made myself write, told myself "this month you write", but this was always because sometimes I forget about the things that make me feel better. Sometimes I question whether it is a good idea to really say the things I want to say, put the proverbial pen to paper, and get out some of the uglier, more confusing thoughts I have. Mostly I question whether it is a good idea for others to read what I write. That last blog post I wrote, for example: I feel guilty already. For all the friends who will feel shorted by it's loneliness, all the people who will feel bad if I feel bad, or charged with righting any wrong feeling they note another experiencing.

Bit I did it anyway. Why? Because the moment I pushed "publish", a weight flew from my shoulders, and I felt much much better.

So yes, in complete contradiction to my opening statement, sometimes I need to make myself write things and I understand why that can take some forcing. Sometimes there is a push to hit that "new blog" button or to open up a new document.

But I never, ever have to try to write.

So back to my confusion: why the push to be expressive in word? Why the movement to force lyric or prose, continuously, as a hobby, as a quota, as a goal unto itself?

I ponder this in the same way I ponder why I would suddenly take violin lessons so I could work my way to twinkle twinkle little star.

Which is not to say that new pursuits aren't their own reward, or that creative endeavor cannot be inherently rewarding.  I think little is more rewarding that just this.

But more, I am speaking to this: I have no true desire to hold a violin, and I don't have the slightest belief that I will grow or express more if I learn to play one.
And in general, I think most people who feel compelled to pick up a paint brush, or suddenly learn a new instrument, have always wanted to paint or already are driven to make music, and a good many have done something similar for a good deal of their lives.

But somehow, I suspect, that writing is different. Because it is used in so many ways, and because most people can speak, and understand words, and can spell and type, because they are already armed with the rudimentary skills, they are more likely to feel compelled to use them in a less than natural fashion. They are more likely to think "I am a writer" because the learning curve is so much less steep, and so much less alien.

And sometimes this is wonderful, because a new writer is born at 30, 40, 50. A great talent is discovered, or just as wonderfully, a new mode of cleansing expression is explored.

And yet...and yet sometimes it just feels academically macho. Bloated or self congratulatory. Sometimes I wonder if it isn't a gluttony of expression: the intellectual equivalent of going out, every day, for a meal at an over priced mediocre diner instead of saving up for that meal that really, truly thrills.

I wonder if it isn't just wasted energy or misleadingly draining for those who partake. A mile marker that gets them no closer to where they want to be.  If they don't experience the rush and the purge of just writing when and how they feel like it does it accomplish, anything, truly?

Or maybe it all feels the same. Maybe everyone feels better when they write and they just need to try. Like cardiovascular health it is a universal means to an end.

No idea.

Which brings me back to my original stance: I just don't understand.

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