Why Write? Part One: To Ground Ourselves
“Life is an endless process of self-discovery.”
-John Gardner, American Writer
Every morning, after I carefully extract myself from in between Oliver and Lucy,who now come into our bed in the middle of the night, every night; after I turn on the light in the kitchen and pour my coffee that was programmed to brew at 5:45 am; after Dharma comes down the stairs to join me as I walk outside into the early morning darkness toward my Treehouse; after I light candles on my windowsills and settle onto the couch with my journal, I write.
I write about the morning, or how I feel, or what Oliver or Lucy did the day before. I write lists of the crap I need to do, lists of the stuff that otherwise wreaks havoc on my presence of mind. I write about things that are going great and things that suck. I write about what I want to do and what I wish I would have done. I write about being stuck, about PMS, about my bad habits, and about how I plan to overcome them.
As the sun rises over our snow-covered neighborhood, I lose myself as I come back to myself in the pages of my journal.
And if I don’t write, I get very, very discomboulated and crabby. I am not alone:
“To me…writing is addictive. If I don’t get to write three or four times a week, I start getting very angry with people, very annoyed.”
Needless to say, Paul supports my morning ritual with zeal and vigor.
So, in Part One of a Series of Some, let’s explore the question of Why Write?
Reason #1: We write to ground ourselves.
Life seems to me, especially as I get older, to be moving at such an unfortunately rapid speed, if I don’t make space and take time to check in with myself, I feel like I’m caught up in tidal wave where I cannot seem to get my footing, where I seem to always be catching up, where I live as a reaction rather than an intention.
“I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.” -Joan Didion
But in those blessed moments, when it is me, my pen, and a blank page in my journal, I feel as though I have the power to stop the flow of time, to zoom in and look closely at what I’m doing and why. It’s a way to pin my thoughts down, to unravel the ball of confusion in my head, and to create balance.
In honoring this gift of life we are given, we must take time to breathe, release our ruminations, and fill our wells with new insight from refection. Writing is a powerful and magical way of doing so.
“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.”
-Christina Baldwin, writer
If you are compelled to read this far, I am assuming some part of you is compelled to write. So why are you compelled? Why do you want to write?