People write for all different reasons.
I like to write in a free from, musical kind of way. Jazz style.
I like to improvise. Let what is there come out as it will and then build onwards from that.
Thought to thought in sequence. Sentence to sentence link.
I like to coax out my message.
Invite it for a visit.
What is it you would like to talk about today, dear subconscious?
What is floating around in there that wants to appear, be expressed?
Often I will write poems. They are a little slower than free form writing. They involve a similar flowing approach but with the rhyming involved, they tend to take turns and make unanticipated leaps. A key rhyming word at the end of a phrase will appear like an arrowed sign on a pathway - saying go this way - pointing off track - maybe towards the seaside or deeper into the forest. Poems have a magical air about them. Like you are being led by fairies, or leprechauns or some kind of local friendly beast, perhaps beckoned by a shaman. They involve trust and a sense of curiosity. A bit of courage. You are being led somewhere new - so you follow.
The reason I write, primarily, is self discovery. I want to allow my voice, the one beyond my regular function voice, the voice that is partly my present self but partly my guide, my higher self, to bring forth something. Some suggestions, some observations, some directions. It really is an amazing thing to be able to do, if you properly consider it. These little symbols that have meaning. String them together into something. Something out of nothing. And it’s effect can be significant. Meaningful. Even life changing.
It’s free and available to all. That’s another nice thing. Anyone can do it. You just get started. I’ve seen and read some truly amazing pieces produced by some of my students in creative writing class. We do a lot of 5, 10, 15 and 20 minute automatic writing exercises. I will give a starting line - something simple like ‘I remember…’ or ‘The day was dark…’ and then each student just goes for it. Pen to paper - never lifting, never looking up. Almost like transcribing to an inner dictation. The editing can come later. The fixing up. The making sense of. While we are doing the exercises, it’s all about going for it, getting out of your own way and getting it onto the page. Sprint drills.
I has some students that never really wrote much before who produced some surprising and delectable pieces. They would shock and delight themselves as much as the rest of us. At the end of each exercise, one or two people would read out, share. Some are, at first, a little reluctant, shy, but it’s a safe environment. We are all in it together. Common cause. At the end of the reading, others can comment; if something comes naturally. Often just smiles, or grunts or ‘ooo’s. Nothing negative. It’s not a critique. So, yeah, I remember some really wonderful stuff - from both newcomers and more experienced writers alike. The point is that really, what we are doing is allowing a light to be shone on our souls, we are accessing a true element of self, one beyond our daily functions. And in there lies the wonder.
Now that, it seems, I have briefly put on my teacher’s hat - I encourage everyone to do some free writing of their own. It’s absolutely rewarding. It’s as invigorating as a walk in nature. And just as good for you.
How amazing that we can teach ourselves, learn from ourselves! What a system! And the more you think and express and observe about your self - beyond the superficial level - the more you realise that ‘you’ are not just the ‘you’ that you know. ‘You’ are part of a much bigger network, a much greater knowing. That’s just how it is. We function as individuals but also as representatives of the species. And what species is that? Humans. Humans we are called. But why are we here? What are we doing? What is the purpose of it all? The whole game?
These are things to think about, to write about, to ponder and prod. Of course there is no ultimate answer. It’s all just about finding a flavour or a feeling, one particular to you in that series of moments, as you create - that will express your unique take on the question. And in producing that you make something that other humans can later appraise, absorb and respond to.
‘Ah, yes! I know that feeling!’ Or ‘Hmmm... what exactly is being said here?”
It may be written work, a painting, a drawing, a comic, a song - anything. It will be a reflection of life. It will be a manifestation, a symbol. One that can be shared and enjoyed by others. Others in exactly the same boat - or, more accurately - their own vessel on the same seas. One that they will observe and respond to and possibly be inspired to create their own version of. And how do they do that? Just by deciding to. You can do no wrong. It’s easy (in a sense) - all you need to do is tap in to your true voice, your true feelings and express them.
It’s about truth. Honesty. Transparency. We are all looking for clues all the time to add to our infinite internal databases. We hunger to know what life is for, what it is about, what our purpose is. We want to be immerse, engaged, connected. That is our nature.
And being creative, freely, and without self judgement or censor, is one of the simplest and most profound ways of doing that.
I just had a little go right then. Start, go, finish. You always end up somewhere. And, almost always, you feel a little better than when you left. You’ve made a mini journey without having to go anywhere. You traversed time from a solitary position in space and did so while on a mission. So, in a sense, by the very act of doing what you did, you answered your own question. What am I here for? To write.
But what does it mean? Ahhh… let somebody else try and figure that out.