Writing turns me into a little God sometimes, but more often, it makes me feel vulnerable. To write, I often have to give things up and retreat into my bubble. I have to face my thoughts and my emotions. I have to turn with my back to half the world so I can face the page.
Writing is a solitary endeavor. Draft after draft, edit after edit, revision after revision – the hours fly. When you spend days, weeks, months writing, you spend days, weeks, months not doing something else. Not traveling, not meeting people, not falling in love.
During this time, you may exist in a state of complete or partial isolation. You may not make money, establish connections, build up muscle, or work toward getting a nicer house or a nicer car – things which, in the eyes of many, are more valuable than an article, poem, short story, or book can ever be.
So why would a sensible person choose to write as a way of life?
I cannot answer for others, but I can answer for myself.
First, the honest answer: because I cannot help it.
And now the rest of it…
Because that vulnerability conceals a depth of feeling and a deep sensibility that enrich life. That make the little things matter: the light falling on a leaf, the sway of a blade of grass, the smell of a daffodil, the twinkle of a star at night. That make us notice a woman’s eyebrows when everyone else looks only at her eyes.
Because writing is a form of meditation. It’s a way to make this world your own.
And because it is a way of creating instead of destroying, a way of giving something to others in return for everything that you have to consume.
Also, because being vulnerable makes you honest with yourself and with others, even when that honesty hurts.
Too often we pretend we are better than we really are. We tell ourselves stories. We create versions of ourselves. Writing as a way of life allows us to do all that, but at the same time, it reminds us that we need to be vulnerable to be ourselves.
Because we are fragile and at any moment our life can end. And that’s something we can’t allow ourselves to forget if we are to live a life that is authentically ours and not merely the product of other people’s agenda.
Does writing make you feel vulnerable?