Starting Over

Discovering myself, my family and friends in a foreign land, second time around


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Why write? Why not!

You have a duty to perform.

Do anything else, do any number

Of things, occupy your time fully.

And yet if you do not do this task,

All your time will have been wasted

– Rumi

I have been a reader for as long as I remember. But I started writing after I became a mother. Was it the lasting hormonal hangover after childbirth that jump started the writing part of my brain? Can’t really tell. But somewhere in those sleep-deprived days, I felt compelled to sit down each night and pour out all the thoughts and feelings that emerged in clear sentences onto the incredulous but waiting computer screen. I wrote a lot in those years, until a decade ago. Then I stopped.

The long hiatus has been self-imposed. I still subscribed to Socrates famous quote – “the unexamined life is not worth living.” I thought, pondered, debated but seldom wrote. A lack of computer hardware was not to blame, what with the electronic junkyard that my home has become with gadgets and devices. I blogged occasionally; made excuses more routinely. While I failed miserably as a wannabe writer, I continued to read.

And that has made all the difference.

Lately I have been reading about writing; famous authors who thoughtfully talk about their writing lives, their reasons for doing it and how to go about being a writer. There is discussion of writer’s block, which is just a fancy term for mere procrastination says Ann Patchett.

Phyllis Theroux’s memoir “The Journal Keeper” has some beautiful metaphors to explain the resistance. “writing is a bit like swimming in the ocean. You have to get beyond the wave line into the depths. But the fear of not getting back to shore, of drifting out to sea, can make the swimmer/writer panic”.

As with any worthwhile activity, the reasons to not do it are many. I have only one reason to write – because I want to. The words of Rumi ring true. No matter what else I do, when I am not writing, I feel I am running away from my duty.

I wonder if I will have anything of significance to say, doubt if I have the aptitude and worry about the flair. But I believe as does Theroux, “when the desire is strong enough, talent shows up, like a day laborer, to achieve your goal.”

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