Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why I Write...

I have just recently been asked, by someone very dear to me who happens to not share my love and devotion to the written word, why I write on a blog. My response, "It's just something I do." That response has stuck with me, especially as I now think of my long absence from writing. I'm not content with that answer. There must be a reason why the written word is so powerful to me.

I'm sure my dad has some pull on why I value it so much. I swear he has this agreement with my mom to encourage me to write out my feelings to someone when I'm not sure what to do. They both give the same advice. When a young man came to ask about dating me, my dad set a few ground rules, then encouraged us to not spend hours on the phone, but rather to write our feelings for each other.

I was home schooled as an elementary student, and if there was one thing that my mom made sure to encourage, was reading. After some time, she really didn't have to work at getting me to read, and I was likely to believe anything I read. It took time for me to believe that everything written in a CLEARLY labeled FICTION book was not true. That someone would write a lie was beyond me. What is it about seeing the words written on paper, or typed on a screen that makes them ring out so clearly and true?

I think of the Apostle Paul and all of the letters he wrote to the churches he started or discipled. Toward the beginning of most of the letters, Paul tells his audience who is delivering the letter and why, but if he has someone delivering the letter, why doesn't that person simply tell the church all that Paul wanted to say? There was something significant for Paul to write it down.

So considering all of my history and all other random facts that show up this wondrous late night/early morning, I've come to these conclusions. The written word seems concrete and indisputably true. Now, as an adult, I realize that much of what is written and even claimed to be true is not, but that doesn't change the fact that it appears to be true. If the source is known and trusted, there is no reason to believe that anything written by that source is false. The assurance in that when it comes to reading people's blogs, or facebook pages, or emails is incredible. The impact that a trustworthy friend's encouragement written out can have, even over the verbal encouragement and hugs, blows me away. Not only do they seem concrete, they seem real. With a performer background (at least an interest in performing), I second guess that people are telling me the truth often. They could look me in the face, tell me the sky outside was blue, and if for one second they flinched, as if caught in a lie, I wonder if they are acting and trying to pull a reaction out of me. I once heard that if something embarrassing happened, something as simple as burping in public, if nobody acknowledges it "it never happened. It wasn't in the script, no one planned on it, no one noticed it, so it never happened." But if someone has something to say to me and they write it down, there is no faking that. They can't act like they didn't say that or mean what they said. They can't tell me it never happened, it's written in the script, it's a prop in this play we call life.

If I write what I say, what I mean, what means something to me, it can't be skewed to fit someone else's purpose. No one could say, "she told me she felt this way about (fill in the blank)" and someone else say the complete opposite. If they wanted to know the truth, all they would have to do is look for where I wrote about it, and that would tell them.

I try hard to write what I mean, and only what I mean. If I write "I love you" you better believe I mean it with all my heart. And if for some reason I write something I dont mean, you can be expecting an apology, rebuttal, or explanation very closely following. And sometimes when I write something, it is perfectly true for how I feel at that moment, but 2 days later how I feel could be completely different and would require a completely new piece of literature to describe exactly how I feel.

I guess I wrote this whole post in an effort to remind myself why I do write, what relief there is once I have my thoughts out in words, no longer kept alone in myself. And to remind myself why I do need to keep writing, not for your sake, but for mine. So you know what I mean when I say "I have the hiccups." So when I say, "I miss Josh," you know that means that I'm struggling to let go again, to let God's promises uplift me, and that it's normal for me, be there for me, don't smoother me.

So, to the one who asks why I write on one of these I say, so I can hear myself think. There, closer to satisfied now.