Why write? It’s a question I often ask myself. Indeed I’ve asked and answered it before, many times over, but still, the question lingers: why write?
I know the answer will be different for different people.
Writing means so many different things, even though we try and contain it into one value-laden, assumption-heavy verb.
For some it truly means the chance to work towards and realise a dream, to be a published, recognised, properly grown up Author, and I take my hat off for those who have that level of skill, commitment, ambition, patience, determination, and outstanding ability to write.
For me it means shaking things out of my head, creating patterns, images, making shapes from moments to stop them from fleeting, knowing they will linger and last in my written remembrance.
For me it means sharing the words, and seeing what happens. Opening yourself up to the possibility of connection, in ways that you cannot imagine at the time of writing.
It’s what blogging lets us do, this free or nearly free medium that still amazes me in its power. It opens up the possibility of connection.
It lets you share a story, a moment, a fragment of the edges of the truth of your life.
It lets you tell a truth, without needing to dig into all of it, to share beyond what is right for you, or compassionate to others.
It opens up the possibility of connection, and connectedness, in a world where, despite all the social of social media, we feel increasingly isolated, and alone.
It opens up the possibility that you may return home from a day when you’re losing faith in the point of it all and find an email from a stranger, responding to your words.
I got one of these out of the blue messages the other day, someone I didn’t know asking for a poem of mine on dementia and remembrance that I’d written and kind of buried. She’d read it once and missed it. Needed it. When I sent her the poem she wrote back to thank me. She wrote back to tell me that she’d pinned it up on her board, to remind her of what it means to remember someone when their memory is going and your understanding of the meaning of memory and remembrance is changing every day.
That one email, that one reader, reminded me of what matters, and what is enough.
Enough in this case being the knowledge that my words of grief and loss and remembered Christmas baking have a life of their own, creating their own resonance, leading to their own connections, forging new stories.
When all the other reasons and justifications and points to it all fall away, that for me is what matters.
That is why I write, and keep on writing, and blog, and keep on blogging, even were I to be the last woman standing.
Why write, indeed, why write.
It’s part of what keeps us human.
It’s part of what keeps us connected.
It’s part of what keeps us alive.