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Tribute to Writing as Therapy

There are days when you aren’t sure how you feel about the world – when you are torn between running around and trying to keep yourself busy, and sitting down in a corner and falling into a daze. There are days when you don’t know what you want to do, but it seems that your body is aching to go somewhere and do something, if only to take away the fear that really, you don’t have anywhere else to go.

And then there are days when you want to sit down and write. There are days when you feel that every movement that your body makes, whether to walk or to go somewhere or to teach students or to dance – every movement is lacking in soul, in energy, in inspiration long gone. There are days when dance is not enough, when talking to people is not enough, when reading becomes trite and thinking becomes boring.

Those are the days when you simply forget the new things that keep you busy. Those are the days when you simply want to pour yourself out into words, to translate your frustrations into words, to turn your tears into words, to build your heart again using words, to find yourself using words, to see words and think, “I have a gift, and I can write, so why am I so sad? Why am I so frustrated?”

And then you remember: ah yes, there are things beyond the writing, there is a world around you that begs to be remembered. There are things to be sad about, things to mull over, things which frustrate you and eat you from your heart, outward.

And that is when you tell yourself, “Stop. You need to remember that you can write. You need to pray, and hope, and then make the prayer come true by writing. And you might cry, or you might hold your pain inside – or you might simply sit down in that corner and fall into a daze. But today, when frustration and sadness come knocking, you will keep them at the door and you will write.”

And then you start writing. And they behave like pests, like babbling, unwelcome guests, the frustrations and sadness. They knock, demand to enter, bang on the door, interrupt your work, tap at the window, tell you that they know you’re in there, that they need you, that you need them.

And still, you type away. The keyboard obeys your commands, feeling the brunt of your anger when frustration and sadness try to take over your writing. They wait like guests at the door; you continue to write. You continue to grumble and talk and wince and groan and speak to your subconscious and hear it speak back. Sometimes, you hear the voices in your head echoing the frustration and sadness without; at other times, the voices take over, louder, more convincingly.

You turn to other things, when the writing does far less than it promises. You turn to a book, to research, to reading, to writing with less emotion and more intellect. But nothing changes: you find yourself returning to the computer, to face the screen and drown it in your words. The screen, ever obedient, receives the words, showing them back to you in all their dark glory – showing you that yes, you do have a gift for gab, howsoever pointless it might often appear.

And then, as you continue to write, you feel the weight disappearing. Everything comes into focus. Everything breathes and lives within you, from the words that you bring forth to the images they awaken in your head; from the work that you try to do to the work that you actually accomplish.

Roads are paved toward goals. Goals appear. Ends are in sight.

And then the frustration and sadness try to knock. They bring paltry tears. They stir a few bones. They touch a few nerves. But they can knock all they want. It is the writer who is living now, who draws power from her gift, who empowers herself with her words.

Published inDiary