There is some connection between my spirit and the pen, some alchemy that occurs when my hand starts moving across the page which causes truths to rise up from the hidden levels of my soul and appear in front of me on the page. It connects me with the deeper questions about what is “unsolved in my heart” and allows me the patience to observe them from different angles. ~Write On Wednesday
Sometimes I’m surprised by them.
These are the bastard children of my writing life, written when I’m angry or downtrodden or feeling as if I’ve completely lost my way. These are the things I sometimes long to tell you, friends of my heart, and so I pour them out onto the page, filled as they might be with doubt or recrimination.
But then I have second thoughts.
Who wants to read my sad story? I think.
And what right have I to complain? I chide.
So instead of clicking “publish” I click “save to draft.” Or I just “x” out of WordPress, ignoring the little pop up window that warns me “my changes will not be saved.”
No, don’t save my changes. Throw them recklessly to the wind, those long-winded episodes of malcontent.
Who needs them?
There is supposed to be something cathartic about writing out our feelings. Most of us have been advised at one time or another to write a letter to someone who has hurt us, a letter that spells out all our feelings and gives vent to all the anger. Instead of mailing the letter, we’re then told to destroy it, perhaps set it aflame and watch the bad feelings melt into ash. The act of writing is known to be good for the soul, and even if you don’t consider yourself a “writer,” putting pen to paper has a way of clarifying those thoughts and feelings that otherwise whirl like a funnel cloud in our hearts.
Dorothea Brande writes that “If you are unwilling to write from the honest, though perhaps far from final, point of view that represents your present state, you may come to your deathbed with your contribution to the world still unmade…”
It seems to me we sometimes need to express the “point of view that represents our present state,” even if that state is one of confusion and pain and sadness. In expressing it to ourselves we come to a greater understanding of who we really are underneath. It is this awareness that then gives fire to the real work of our art, and brings us one step closer making our contribution to the world.