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A Pocket Archive (20)

I received one of the nicest compliments from one of my readers who I've become good friends with. In addition to the above, he told me "your writing isn't about being sad or happy. Your words have something magical about them like hidden messages that touch the deepest emotions and feelings". Apart from being encouraging, it made me think about why I write. In truth, I don't have a good answer; it's like asking why people talk to each other, or conversely, why they choose not to. Language, while not the only form of communication or expression, is the thread that binds together the fabric of the universe. The world was spoken into existence, and our ability to tell stories and convey narratives through words and other creative mediums is part of what makes us human. Perhaps this is why writing (for me) feels as necessary as breathing or sleeping. This is also why writer's block hurts so much.

Over the years, my writing has evolved and changed many times over, in part due to more life experience and shifts in perspective, but I think it improved most once I've slowly become less conscious of my own fear: that little voice that whispered that no one would want to read anything I had to say or that if I wrote exactly what I wanted I might reveal pieces of myself and my life to my own eyes that I knew I didn't want to see. It's interesting re-reading old journal entries and seeing what was happening to me, and remembering how I felt when I wrote them, but I never explored those concerns too far or scratched the surface too deep, perhaps for fear of what I might realize. Now, I can safely say that the fear of thinking too much about something is more damaging that the 'paranoia' I thought I had about over-thinking. I wish younger me had been braver and I'd written down more of what was happening- our guts will often tell us what our hearts refuse to, and maybe if I had penned it and thought about it more, I would have gotten out in time. But the past cannot be altered, and sometimes the things we don't write says more about our psyche or a situation than the things that those that we do record, especially after time gives us the distance we need to re-examine them properly. For this reason, even restrained or "bad" writing still has unique value, and sometimes there's little nuggets of golden prose burried between the rest of the mess that can be recycled into other projects later.

Another fear I had was that my writing needed a special purpose, and that nothing I could think of was important enough, or that if it was, I wouldn't be able to pull it off well enough. Now, my view has flipped completely. Some of the best writing I've ever read didn't have any life-altering messages or complexity, but rather were about mundane, ordinary things that I could empathize with despite never having those experience myself. Human narrative is powerful in itself, and while there is nothing wrong with writing with intention, I feel mine improved immensely when I stopped caring why, for whom, or about what I should write. Writing fulfills its own purpose, and the best thing you can do it just put your pen to paper and to let your thoughts bleed out until you have nothing left to think or say. Not all of it will be worth sharing or editing further, but you never know what will resonate with someone (even if that person is just yourself), and the process is valuable regardless.

I don't know if I truly believe that the pen is mightier than the sword, but I do think they have a very special kind of magic that is more effective in healing the soul than any therapist could be. Thank you to all my friends for your continued support. My writing won't be for everyone and I have a long way to go, but I'm glad to know that other people are enjoying it too, and I feel little pieces of my spirit knitting back together every time someone offers encouragement.


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