“To write is to live life twice,” he said.
Now that is the kind of statement I would ask be:
read over supermarket loudspeakers;
plastered across town squares;
shouted off rooftops;
printed on billboards!
Words which make you wonder, rather than want.
My father encouraged me to write from the moment I could pick up a crayon.
I’ve kept at it ever since.
Living life twice.
It’s one of those things I used to assume everyone did. When I’d find out someone I knew didn’t write or didn’t enjoy writing (?!), I’d wonder…
Writing is necessary for me! It is meditative! Cathartic! It is my breath! It is directly responsible for keeping me alive through 26 revolutions around the sun!
When taken seriously (& yet oh-so-unseriously),
I have found that writing can be a force for one to:
a) know oneself
b) want to know oneself
c) want to better oneself
Because—try as we may—we can’t escape our own thoughts, fantasies, ideas, fears, pasts, desires, etc.
So I started encouraging others to write…
…and I’ve found that it’s really difficult to get others to write.
People are generally much more likely to:
mope around for years
hate themselves for years
complain to friends, uninterested strangers, & mirrors for years
pay thousands to a psychiatrist for years (years!)
…than to sit down and come face-to-face with themselves, pen and paper in hand.
So, I felt I might convince people. Haven’t we all been convinced into different ways of thinking and going about things by different people?
Friends, family, teachers, mentors, lovers, preachers, revolutionaries, authors, old souls, yogis, intellectuals, philosophers, filmmakers, musicians, etc.
Maybe even a few saintly bus drivers, forest nymphs, curbside prophets.
Perhaps some people need more convincing. We tend to endorse habits and thought patterns which work for us. We think if it works for us, it may work for others.
So while there are few things I would urge people to do, consider me on a mission to unleash the writers within; that we may live life as much as humanly possible.
(Even if you never write your words, at least think them – for goddess’ sake! Maybe even say them aloud sometimes!)
With writing, I am faced with certain challenges and opportunities:
to be (and be present) in my own solitude, to have alone time with my mind, to face mental and emotional wrecks within me, to entertain myself, to think, to wonder, to question, to ask, to imagine, to document, to tell, to pray.
I am able to ruminate about anything – just me, my thoughts, paper, & pen.
Keyboards & typewriters work just as well. Many fine people enjoy the clickety-clacking of the keys.
(Pen & paper, however, will never be retired from my writing diet.)
I don’t sit down with the intention of writing for anyone else.
This is my time to pour out the contents of my soul, or what little I might extract from it.
It doesn’t even have to makes sense to me, let alone anyone else.
All I have to do is get it out.
Out of me and onto those pages.
There’s a definite charm to people who wait for time to pass in airports and at bus stops by putting pen to paper instead of finger to tablet.
Some will watch strangely when you write in public; tourists transfixed by a tigress in her natural habitat.
What’s she thinking? Is she dangerous?
Dots are connected. New neural pathways are explored. Revelations are made.
It can be a volatile & volcanic process.
It can be a euphoric & heavenly process.
Sometimes it’s as difficult as gaining the courage to make a necessary leap, head first, into violent waters. Sometimes there are thoughts so eager to climb out of me and into existence that I can sit and write for hours.
No matter the difficulty, no matter the length of time or word count, it’s always worth it.
Writing is a time machine. An experiment in self.
A wormhole throughout the history of one’s own consciousness.
The me, 10 years ago… 10 months ago… 10 minutes ago… what is she wondering? What’s floating around in there?
(Also: Where does this come from?)
There’s nothing that can so easily bring such clarity about my self or my life as does writing.
I skip surface level most days, in most conversations, in most of my writing.
The surface is nice & calm, but I prefer diving to great depths.
(Or taking off to the skies. And if I am on the surface then I’m splashing around, no doubt.)
You can dive deep with yourself through writing. (So deep.)
And something weird & wonderful happens.
You give yourself the space to sort of… fall in love with your own mind.
For our minds to sit so powerfully, peering out of the doorways of our eyes… devastatingly cursed & brilliantly blessed with the ability to remember… activated & engaged as you scan this page…
To not praise it and speak highly of it!
To not explore its outer limits!
To not feed it, always!
To not empty it out daily of all the waste that gets in!
To not recycle some of that waste!
Yet many parade around yammering on and on about how incapable they are instead of using this tool to increase their understanding of the world, and themselves.
It’s really quite simple.
You don’t have to be an author to be a writer.
You just have to write.
And keep writing.
And keep writing.
And if they ask me why I write?
There are a million reasons, which have been and will be uncovered in time.
One of them is to live life twice.
In my world, and onto those pages…
(featured image by mayank ganger)