The other morning, as I was sitting with notebook blithely writing away at my morning pages, I had a funny little frisson of thought~you know, those strange notions that seem to pop into your head occasionlly, like a waking dream. For just a second, I had the feeling that everyone in my neighborhood, everyone in the world, actually, was writing too. With a quick mental shake of the head, I came to my senses. How ridiculous is that? But then, a wave of sadness came over me, sadness for everyone I know that doesn’t write, because they are missing so much.
Using words to express our needs, our thoughts, our emotions, is basic to life, and something every child is taught from the earliest of ages. Unlike playing a musical instrument, or painting, or dancing, learning command of our languge through speech and the written word is deemed one of life’s most necessary skills. Isn’t it exciting to watch children master the use of words, to figure out that the use of words makes things happen? Who hasn’t cherished a child’s scribbled notes and poems, written with such excitement and freedom, their first forays into the world of written expression?
Back in 1938, when she wrote If You Want To Write, author Brenda Ueland insisted that “everybody is talented, everybody who is human has something to express.” We let that creative engergy, that drive to express oursleves get “drummed out of our lives by dry obligation, and because we don’t respect it in ourselves and keep it alive by using it.” Fast forward 60 years, and Julia Cameron publishes Right to Write, in which she advises us to “write because it’s human nature to write. Writing claims our world. It brings clarity and passion to the art of living. It is good for the soul. It connects us to our insights, and to a higher and deeper level of inner guidance.” I don’t believe writing is just for the “chosen few,” but that everyone comes hard wired with this need to express themselves with the written word. The proliferation of blogging as a means of personal expression is testimony to that.
In the high school where I work, we have a period of time each day known as “Silent Reading.” It happens about 10:30 a.m., right after morning announcements. Just after we’ve heard results of the volleyball game, meeting time for National Honor Society, and been reminded to wear red and black for spirit day, the announcer says, “Now it’s time for Silent Reading.” The entire student body -all 2100 of them- including teachers, stops class and reads for 20 minutes.
I love being there when that happens. I love the idea of everybody stopping in their tracks just to read, to enter into someone else’s world for a while. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if the whole world took time every day to do that? And, wouldn’t it be even more fabulous if the the world took 20 minutes every day to write, to enter into our own worlds a little deeper, express our vision of life and ourselves on the page. Wouldn’t we all become more mindful of the beauty that surrounds us, the people that intersect with our lives, and more keely attuned to our own thoughts and dreams? Those are just some of the ways my writing experience has enriched my life.
So, how about you? Do you make time to write everyday? Don’t you think everybody should?