Thursday, February 17, 2011

Writing for the love of it.

I love writing.

I love the soft sound of my fountain pen flowing across the clean, white page swiftly following my thoughts as they race from brain to fingertips into words. It’s a sort of magic, really. I see my pen as the magic wand, drawing on mysterious energy. And even though my penmanship is awful and sometimes very hard to read, I don’t care. It’s the process of writing that I love. The ability it gives me to see what goes on in my mind, my heart and my soul that might get stuck there in some walled off space but with pen in hand and an empty page, thoughts, feelings and dreams flow through pen and ink magically taking shape as words on a page.

When I don’t get time to journal, I get very crabby. I feel off centered and scattered and lost.

Writing has always been my way to navigate my life. Journaling, for me, is like a well-worn path on the road of life that always takes me home. I started writing as a young teen in high school, in my “Dear Diary”. But this process followed me to college, where in the wee hours of the morning when sleep would not come, I had my journal and pen as my confidant.

When I sit down to journal, I usually don’t know what I’m going to write. I just put the pen on the paper and watch it move across the page Sometimes, I might start with one thought, event, problem or dream and by the end be in an entirely different place. Many times over the years, I’ve started a journal session with a question. I learned early on that when questions came swirling into my mind with no answers in sight; I could take it to my journal. Writing down the questions there, I would leave a space and sure enough, the answers would somehow magically appear. I have used this process for many years. Over and over, I’ve watched my problems solved in the pages of my journals.

Most of the time, I just keep my pen to paper writing what comes out until the pen stops. Then I’m done. Sometimes, I put my pen down, take a deep breath and read it all from top to bottom. Sometimes, I read it a few days later. Sometimes, I just close the book with a feeling of clean contentment that you might get from meditation.

What I find – and it always surprises me – is that my question, problem or difficulty has, unbeknown to me been answered, solved or eased.

I grew up figuring that everyone was this way. That everyone could write their way to their right path. That when they were upset, confused or tired, they only had to put pen to paper for awhile to feel calm, centered and rested.

I know now, it’s not true from everyone.

Although, I am such a deep fan of this amazing process, I often feel like a woman on a mission trying to convert everyone to journal writing. Not everyone is open to it or convinced of its value.

Hard as I tried, I haven’t even been able to get my kids to use a journal to help them navigate through the jungles of adolescence into adulthood. I gave them pens, notebooks and encouragement. They tried, maybe to please me, but never filled the journals or asked for new ones.

Once, in a desperate attempt on my part to help my young teenage daughter process her feelings, I suggested we journal together. So, for a while, she would write to me in her journal, leave it by my door and I would write back to her. I hoped after a while, she too, would fall in love with this kind of writing but she did not. She did write many wonderful stories, but not in a journal. My son drew comic book characters in his notebooks, which I loved and encouraged, giving him sketchbooks and colored pencils. But writing in a journal was not for him, either.

I remain the sole scribbler even in my own family. That’s just something I have to accept. For me, writing in my journal is a path to self illumination, spiritual awareness and creative problem solving.

I love writing.


Patrick Gracewood said...

I feel that way about my drawing books.
Anything is permitted, even if in difficult mental times it was just the act of drawing lines. Drawing would draw me out of a funk and into acceptance.

I tell friends that they need to get "religion". They rarely understand that it doesn't matter what you follow, but that you follow that something through good/easy times and through bad/difficult times. It's the returning again and again to your chosen "office' to meet yourself
that is the work and is what works.

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Michael Turner said...

I love to draw lines and doodle both in my writing journal and my art sketchbooks. I love the fact that drawing draws you out the way writing 'rights' my world.

I totally agree, more need to use this practice...I refrained from using the word practice and even took out a paragraph which talked about religion because I didn't want to mix church with state, and I can see you've been there and know what I mean.

And I agree, it does, indeed, work!

goldenbird said...

I feel that way about writing, too. Thanks for expressing it so beautifully. I have stacks and stacks of composition books filled with journaling that I can't bear to part with.

Susan Gallacher-Turner and Michael Turner said...

I'm so glad to 'meet' a fellow scribbler, Stacy! I'm glad you've kept your composition books, even if you never need them or re-read them, I think keeping them is a way to honor your writing process.