These past few days, I've been wondering why I blog. I have talked about words on this blog. I have talked about God. I have splashed virtual ink about forgiveness, joy, Italy, homesickness...
but the thought won't leave my mind: why do I do this?
and the thought trailing after it: does anyone read it?
Those two thoughts are mischievous - they're tying my writer's shoelaces together, that third grade trick, so that when I get up, I am soaring through the air ... and colliding with cold elementary school tile (or in this case, a sense of dejected writer's block). And the only way I can think of to undo the knots, and retie my shoes is to freewrite, go back to my basics, and let myself answer the first question.
Why do I do this?
Because I can't not do it, I can't not put something onto the paper and onto the screen and into your head. Because thoughts are thoughts, only for a moment and they aren't eternal and they are worthy of the words that capture them like a butterfly net. I want the thoughts to flutter against their lettered cages and move off the page and make art. I want people to conjure up images when I talk, feel calmed and intrigued, imagine the world with me. I write because writing is a way to be alive. I write because my mother is a poet and my father is a professor and art and academics are mingling in my blood, because I want to become something. I write because I hear words all the time. I write because I can't draw the world like Monet and I can't dance the world and I can't act the world but I can write it. And no one teaches you how to trust yourself in these things, to trust that you are in fact going the right way or the wrong way but it'll turn out all right. I write on this blog because I want to create. I write on this blog in the vague and unfathomable hope that God does something with my words, and maybe just maybe there is a way to sing by writing.
My sorrows are commonplace and ordinary, my joys the kind that everyone knows: fresh-cut grass and birds perched on wires, laughing with friends til sides ache and fighting for an idea against the best arguments, making someone smile, listening close and hearing the heart, wondering. I write because even though they aren't the stuff of epics and novels they're the stuff of being alive. And what else is there, except this? That the world is ours to share, not own, and ours to treasure, not possess, and people are miraculous and I write to reach them?
I write because writing bends and challenges me, pushes me farther and makes me more faithful. I write because there is never enough time to give thanks and never enough time to be breathless and never enough time to teach and learn from the people of books and the places of books and the wonder of books. I write to remember. I write to pray. I write to grow.
And so while these answers are uncertain and confused - and maybe you ask them too - they have answered the knot of writer's block: if I must write, Rilke reminds me, I must write. And not worry about the rest.
He says, dear readers and writers, the best words: