Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Writing and Purpose


“Say the thing with which you labor--it is a waste of time for the writer to use his talents merely. Be faithful to your genius ---Write in the strain that interests you most---Consult not the popular taste.”

Henry David Thoreau

Okay, I tried to write a blog, but I was so angry about something else, that all I could do was vent for a little while and try to get the anger out of my system.  Mostly I’m angry with myself for not listening to my heart.  But what’s done is done and now all I can do is move on.  I’m going to try to extricate myself from that situation as quickly as possible so I can get back to doing what I love and do best, writing.
One of my earliest experiences with writing was when I was 8 years old, in the 3rd grade.  Not understanding the word “summary” I rewrote the entire story of The Bremen Town Musicians.  It was seven pages, handwritten.  When I was 11years old, in the 6th grade, I wrote an essay for the topic, What the Flag Means to Me.   My teacher, Miss Noonan, was so impressed that she sent it to be judged as a possible prizewinner.  And she was not a woman who was often impressed by me, hyperactive and unfocused boy that I was.  I didn’t win, but the fact that my writing got noticed planted a seed in me. 
When I was 14 years old, I read Harpo Speaks by Harpo Marx, one of the famous Marx Brothers comedy team from the 1930’s and 40’s.  The book, over 450 pages, was the longest book I’d ever read up to that time and I was fascinated with the idea that someone could write a book about his life.  I wasn’t unfamiliar with the concept of the autobiography; it’s just that I had never seen it done like that.  I knew, even at 14 years old, I wanted to write my own autobiography.
For whatever reason, I didn’t start until I was 17.  I didn’t write an autobiography, but I did start my first of many journals on November 9, 1977 and they were mostly autobiographical.  There is nothing significant about that date other than it was the date I started.  I started writing because I couldn’t stand the idea of not writing.  It’s true that I had been working on school newspapers for about three years, but this was different.  This was about me, and more importantly, it was what I wanted to write.
It’s not that I thought, or think now, that I am so fascinating, but I had a need, one I still don’t understand, to write down my feelings and experiences.  Anne Frank said, “The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings; otherwise, I might suffocate.”  I think a large part of my journal writing came not from ego or even from art, but for a desire to create peace and relief, to express myself..  I admit that my blogs often serve the same purpose. 
What has made my blogs so personally powerful is how much my life and thoughts have changed since I started.  Perhaps I had the ability to change things long ago, but for some reason, it took me until recently to do what I needed to do.  I credit all of it to my writing.  I love writing and I always have.  I just never realized that it would change my life.
That’s what Purpose does, though; it changes our lives.  Not all at once, though that’s possible, but changes can come relatively quickly.  I know that my life has changed more in the last six months than in the last six years.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced difficulties or setbacks, but now I know I can go back to my writing every time and create peace and healing for myself. 
So I sit here in gratitude for and awe over this gift God has given me.  This gift is amazing.  I’m not saying my writing is amazing; I’m saying the gift is amazing.  Every time I write something new comes out.  Every time I write I create something.  This gift keeps on giving.  It is amazing that the Creator of the Universe cares enough about me to give me a gift that I can give back to Him and to the world. 
It’s amazing that I can Get Started and Keep Going…and keep writing.  Thank you, God.  Thank you, Muse.  I will be back.  Soon.