Semantics of Breathing

I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can breathe.

_Anais Nin

Writing means a great many different things to me. A few years ago, someone close to me said that writing was my life. Being who I was in that moment, hearing her words, I argued with her, not because she was wrong, but because she had reduced me, my life, my experience, to one word. I told her that writing was not my life, but rather a tool that I used to create whatever life I chose in any given moment. Ahhh, the world of semantics.

Nin has reduced writing to the need to breathe, and I agree with her, thus proving my good friend quite right in her definition, but also proving myself correct as well. Writing is breathing: inhaling my own experience, pulling it inside of me, possessing it, claiming it as mine, then allowing it to inform and refresh, refuel whatever is there, and lastly, exhaling it onto a page of white paper, or a dirty napkin, whichever is at hand. Only, to immediately do the same, in the next moment.

What does it mean, to breathe? It means to exist, to live, to be alive. And I have to admit, that I am most alive when I am writing. At least, that is how it feels. But Nin takes that one step further. She links it directly to an act of creation, the creation of a particular place and time in which one can and does exist. Sounds a bit god-like, doesn’t it? And that brings in a whole universe of questions.

There is that immediate problem of hubris, that pride that rivals itself against God, attempting to be God, while usurping God’s power and abilities.  Never fear, this is just another blog, and I’ve seen and read better ones, even commented on them, acknowledging that reality. I do however, take pride in this blog, and whatever small contributions it might endeavor to make in the world in which I exist.

Which, in turn, brings us to that act of creation of which Nin speaks. If I am a creature, a creation of God, made in God’s image and likeness, then it only stands to reason that I am, because that word creature begins with the same prefix as the word create, able to create as God has created me to do, to be, to exist, to live, and to breathe. But a whole world, you might ask?

Yes. A whole world, my world, the one in which I exist, and move within, and is influenced and affected by my presence. A very small minute piece, or part, of that much larger world that God created and which affects, impacts on my own. Okay, that reduces it, and me, to an appropriate, un-inflated size, but adds the matter of choice into the mix.

If God created me to create, and I do believe that is true for each of us, just what am I (we) creating? And how, for heaven’s sake, am I (we)  supposed to do that? It’s a matter of choice. I choose to build a world based in my own chosen definitions and to write those definitions here on this white piece of paper. And amazingly enough, I don’t do that because I desire that everyone else accept those definitions. What a horrid thought, and such a dull world that would be.

Although its nice to find agreement, it is far more important to explore other perspectives, compare them with my own, and change, or adjust,  my view accordingly, when needed. And that is one of the major reasons I write. It is the only way I know to keep track of all of it. I am too aware that my view, my take on any given subject is narrowed by the filter of my own experience, and that of the selective memory I have already written about.

Which, for me, brings this full circle and back to Nin’s quote. I do enjoy and cherish breathing, and hope to continue to do so for some time. But, while I am breathing I will continue to write, to explore my own and others’ definitons, thereby using this tool to create my world, and the me that exists within it. For me, it is a matter of semantics, what are your semantics?


About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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6 Responses to Semantics of Breathing

  1. leafless says:

    You sound like a true writer. Great stuff.


  2. 1sojournal says:

    Thank you very much,



  3. diddums says:

    Yes, it’s the breathing space you mention, though I’m thinking more about my personal journal and other types of writing. Those help me more now than the blog does.

    It gets difficult when I’m writing something and not expressing it as well as I would like, but perhaps our words can only be as true as they are in the context of everyone and everything else… and not just in our own lives.

    Sometimes when writing, I wonder why I feel a particular way, but had a bit of an epiphany today. Writing and reading brought the doubts; TV solved them. I watched The Grinch in the afternoon (yes, Jim Carrey!) and at night I saw an episode of Desperate Housewives. I compared my acceptance and enjoyment of those two shows to the uneasy way I’ve been turning away from others, including old favourites. (An episode of Farscape rubbed me up the wrong way only yesterday). As a result of this comparison, I came to a realization about myself. It was a happy realizaton, but I’m saving it for my personal journal. 😀


    • 1sojournal says:

      I really believe that they must first be true in our own lives. If not, they will remain no more than possibilities, or even doubts, easily swayed by the context generated by others. And by saying that, I think that I too have had a realization, and like you, will first try it out in my personal journal, lol, and much thanks.



  4. jenny riddle says:

    in 2003 i had two “mishaps” and broke my left arm and then the the right. i have played the guitar everyday (there’s been lapses) but if it wasn’t guitar it would be piano, or writing.
    i always leave my guitar leaning on a recliner. it is a natural instinct to grab it. i did that everyday.
    it took about 4 years to get back the point i am at and i don’t play the same just differently. it has made me get rid of the “chatter” in my playing.
    on a different note what about smoking. i was a smoker and no how many years go by i find myself patting the passenger seat looking for a cigarettes.


  5. 1sojournal says:

    In other words, are you saying that the ‘mishaps’ might not have been ‘mishaps’, but were turned into a more focused learning of the insturment you use? If that is so, I’m loving what you are saying, because I believe in that reality. I know it well.

    About the cigarettes? Why did you begin to smoke? What was the feeling you were attempting to assauge by doing so? Are those feelings still present in your life? If so, it might be time to take a closer look and find another way to soothe or reconcile them. Habits are sometimes simply symptoms of other deeper dis-ease. Getting rid of the habit means leaving a hole that must be filled with something else. What are you actually grabbing for when you pat the passenger seat?

    Thanks for your comments and thought provoking statements,



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