Why We Write

So often in my life, I have gone through periods without writing a word. No blog posts, no songs, no articles, no essays, no journals, no nothings. Zero. Zilch. Although reading is always a joy, and assignments frequently a necessity, I sometimes see little point in engaging in such an elective activity, particularly when I am tumultuously busy. In the last fortnight, I have been fervently journalling and banging out chords on my piano, as well as tentatively recommenced with blog posts. What has changed? Primarily, I have nothing but time right now, but that’s hardly the point. I wonder, as evidenced by the plethora of blogs, books, ballads, and bands at our disposal, why it is that we are compelled to express, to create, to write?

We exist. We survive. We do what is necessary to withstand the world. We build high, thick walls, which emotions, cumbersome and loaded, are unable to break through. And so in this ineptitude of basic human expression, we turn to alternative means. The pages which fit through the cracks. The harmonies that float around the fortress. The rhymes and rhythms and rondos and ritenutos that explain the overwhelmed self far more clearly than our anxious, disorganised minds could ever articulate. Writing is catharsis. Art allows us to endure, even when the product is not particularly inspiring. The blank page wilfully takes the haphazard array of post-it notes on the board of my mind without judgement, and sits with me consolingly as I blindly try to make sense of them.

We write to inform, to impact, to interest and idealise and intimate. Even if it is only to ourselves. These songs, these musings, these diary pages, these blog posts; they are self conscious and meaningless and rarely see the light of day. But the simple act of articulating, asking yourself “What is happening? What am I doing? What in the world does any of this mean?” – these private moments guide us, presenting mini epiphanies and bursts of awareness in the most trying times in our lives.

In the last ten days, I have learnt so much from my scrawled musings. Simple things that are a given to so many have taken these twenty two years to hit home. I am starting to realise that I am not stuck with the choices I make now for the next forty years. I am trying to remember that plans change, and that’s okay. I am understanding that responsibility is the cost of freedom and choice, but that it is worth the undertaking. January has been a difficult, horrible, awful month, as months go. But writing has helped, and writing will continue to help, and in the face of emotion (blunted and painful and otherwise), I write.

 

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