I might have gotten carried away in a “cold” letter to a recruiter today. But it is a subject I’m passionate about. It didn’t amount to much, but it was something I felt I needed to write, not because of a spiritual prompting or external pressure, but because I had words inside me that I needed to say.
That’s the way true writing is for me. It burns and churns inside me, bubbling until it boils over, spilling across the screen in front of me.
It’s something I must discover, something I need to be there for, be present for, be accountable to. If my fingers are on the keyboard or my voice is joining in with friends, I can find it more easily, locate those lilting, still gasps of inspiration hidden in between the gaps in our conversations.
Writing, then, becomes a conversation with myself, similar to the discussions and debates I have with old roommates. It’s a back-and-forth, a collision of ideas on a 2-D plane, a gushing, crashing crush of insight and rapport. It’s an exchange with myself — I give you words and a willingness to listen, you give me glimpses in a mirror and reflections on deeper topics, and we both come out better for it.
Writing is how I learn, how I create, how I build my way into the world around me, by mashing new ideas against old ones like clay on a school desk. The moldable against the immovable, the mess against the clean. My thoughts need to be kneaded and pummeled and flattened and folded until they become soft enough to work with, pliable enough to build something strong.
I know I shouldn’t write in such ephemeral, abstract terms, that I shouldn’t use “thing” or “get” so much. Readers can’t connect with abstract concepts and null-value words, not like they can with good, concrete examples. Solid metaphors. Nuance-filled parables and fables and fact-based fictions. That is what I’ve been told, what I’ve had taught to me. Taught at me.
But I’m not writing for them, not when I get like this. Not once the words start flowing and growing on their own. I’m not writing to be read (as ironic as that sounds). No, I’m writing for me, writing to clear my head, to heal my heart, to mend my mind, to fix some fault or fracture I’m still figuring out how to face.
I write for the very same reasons I blow my nose: I don’t do it to help others hear my voice more clearly; I do it because something inside me needs out. It’s visceral and physical and instinctual. If I don’t do it often, things can get messy and raw. If something irritates me, aggravates my sinuses or my morals or my subconscious convictions, I immediately feel a near-uncontrollable need to expel it from me, to get it in front of me, to examine it on paper. It’s how my body flushes out foreign objects and ideas.
And, much like this post, when what comes out slaps noisily and explosively onto the page in front of me, running on a little as it slides from one line into the next, I feel better. I’m usually a bit sore, too, but that’s understandable if you’ve ever seen (or heard) me sneeze.
But, like I said, I can’t really help myself when it gets to that point. Sometimes I’ve just got to let it out.