Why I Write

I began writing for Huffpo several years ago. It was a turning point for my own self-expression as I had previously written only empirically-based scientific papers. Since then, I’ve found writing (Huffpost, books, journaling, etc.) to be a powerful method of personal reflection, growth, and creativity. As I pondered why, this is what I discovered:

Writing is an inward journey. The road beckons, enticing you with images of insight, but along the way they are tangled masses: thickets so dark they block the light; boulders so large they prevent passage. All roads lead home. In the challenges, the fears, the dark in its obstinence, in its unique fearfulness — we discover the mystery of life. Not as a thing to be dismissed but an infinite source of creativity to be loved.

Words take on shapes of various sizes and colors fitting together at times like a massive jigsaw puzzle — at times scattered haphazardly awaiting order. The writer, like the puzzle-maker, tries piece against piece. Straight edges outline the exterior but the inward section constitutes a process of repetitive trial and error. When words connect they create.

Few words rise above the cacophony of thought to make their way to the surface. Once there, gasping for breath, the writer may offer refuge in a sentence.

The string of a sentence may stand alone or reach its maturity in a paragraph; older siblings giving younger siblings a place of safety. The young may surprise by offering a twig of advice or insight that amidst the elders feels young and vibrant. Flexible rather than stiff, the sentence of youth brightens the writer’s way bringing a smile of countenance to her face.

The task of writing is more of an obsession at times. It is like a horse race where time is both short and long, the minute of the race but the never-ending repetition of training for yet another. Words flow to be caught, only to be lost and caught again. In a transcendent experience the “I” releases words that yield change. The writer doesn’t know when the ‘good ones’ will flow forth.

Amidst a morass, a kernel of beauty; amidst the noise, a moment of exquisite silence as quiet as the snow on a new fallen Midwestern winter’s morning, so quiet that a car or horse or human make no sound, so white in the darkness that the two are indistinguishable. Beauty abounds striking with awe those that dare to look.

Reverence comes to mind for the love one experiences, the untouched emotion that releases pain and suffering in its fleeting passing. The heart opens to its call. A soul connected to all that is and ever was.

Can words of reason open the heart releasing a valve that may block the way? Can a linear, logical sequence of words — experimental in their order — reveal a truth unleashed by Nature and the Arts?

Can Logic reveal Intuition? Philosophers do so by pushing the mind of reason to its limit. It is in the limits of reason, the boundaries of knowledge, that the vast unknown may be seen. One must travel to the edge, to the limits, to see the other side.

What lies at the edge of reason? Creativity and Insanity. Irrationality and Intuition.

It is walking at the edge that brings both fear and exaltation.

We often return to the safety of the middle to recuperate, restore, and revitalize. But venturing to the edge and surrendering as we fall off can reveal the power of the written word.