This morning while browsing the interwebs in search of inspiration for today's post I visited The Creativity Portal to make use of their blog prompt generator when a link to the left of the page caught my eye….
Warning! to Writers, Natalie Goldberg says: "I have not seen writing lead to happiness in my friends' lives. I'm sorry to say this…"
The article, an excerpt from her book on writing Thunder and Lightning, talks of her own struggle with the question, "Why write?" Why write when it might not be how I make a living? Why write when creation often seems to cause so much struggle?
One could say this about any art. Why paint? Why dance? Why make music? Why sing? Creation is a struggle and yet for many of us it is something we must do even when it doesn't make us money or bring us joy or sets us apart from the rest of the world. When I think of my own art - dance, music, sewing or writing, I think of the process. The process, the experience of creation, transports me. This is particularly true with writing. When all else falls to the side, when darkness encroaches and I am paralyzed mentally and emotionally. When I don't feel called to make music or to dance or to sew, I write.
I will write out my pain, my sadness and joy and find I am lifted to a place outside of myself. All else, the burden of tension, stress and struggle of life (even if this is what I am writing about) is lightened or lifted away. It isn't easy or clean. I have been known to weep my way through a box of tissues while writing about a loss or a memory. Perhaps that is the trick of writing for me, that it brings me to the very center of what I am experiencing; it forces me to be present in the here and now. Even when the writing is not personal - a paper for school, or a response to a blog prompt, the experience of word craft still transports me and within a few strokes of the keys I enter that place of flow.
Writing is the first thing I do each day. It is my practice, my balm, my burden and my meditation. I am not sure that there is a concrete answer to the question of, "Why write?" For me it is something I feel called to do above all other things. Perhaps the closest response for me to the question of 'why write' is…
…because I must.