Take me, for example. Not the best writer in the world. A reluctant writer. A shy writer, but I cannot seem to stop doing it. I have tons of journals in the basement; I am writing a book or trying to. I tried high school teaching once but couldn’t stomach it. I Teach yoga instead, and love it.
Still writing though. Weird. So what’s the point? Why continue with this? The answer is: I can’t stop. I am addicted in a weird way. I can stop for a while, but not for long. I wish I could stop, but I can’t. It’s what I do. It’s who I am. Or at least it’s a part of who I am. Not everything, but big. Huge, maybe.
I can’t stop doing it. I like it and I hate it at the same time. It’s both a blessing and a curse. Why can’t I stop? This is what happens when I do stop, even for a little while.
At first it feels fine. I am doing and acting in the world, and everything is fine. Then there starts to be discomfort. Not in the body, but someplace inside. There is a grouchiness that develops, a persistent feeling of being out-of-sorts. I can’t put my finger on it but it feels wrong. I never think it’s because I haven’t been writing, though. I blame it on my diet, or lack of exercise, or lack of discipline in my life. I start to worry about death, and wake up in the night and think about how old I am and how I haven’t done a damn thing with my life and it’s almost over. I think that I am not even close to getting the “Life Well-Lived” badge. But I am very close to getting the “Too Little Too Late” badge. Or the “Good Intentions” badge. And that scares me.
So the next day I take out the journal and start scribbling because I need someone to talk to about all this stuff that’s worrying me. I need to talk to my inner wisdom guide, which I have named “Stella,” only I don’t ever consciously think that that’s what I need to do. I think I just need to sort things out in my brain. I think I need to put it all out there and look at it rather than having all the boogie-boogies in my brain (which is a very dark and spooky place to begin with) scaring me with their creepy noises and voices.
When I finish writing there is clear and bright at the end. Not always “happy.” No. But the writing shines a flashlight under the bed and I can see the boogie-boogies for what they really are, which are thoughts, and not real.
I sit down and write these words: Only actions are real. And although this does not console me, because I am not a person of action for the most part, at least I am not worried about stuff that isn’t real anymore.
Then I realize after I’ve written for a few hours that the reason I was getting all crazy in my head was that I had not written in a while. I was disconnected from my self, my Stella, my star, my soul, whatever I want to call it. And that’s why I needed to write. Not because I am a good writer. Not because I need to make up elaborate other worlds like fiction writers do. No. I write in order to connect with myself.
I write because it’s the only way I know that I can stay happy and sane. If I don’t, I become grouchy and crazy.
It’s as simple as that.