Each of them is a doorway that will lead you inside of yourself. Each one is an invitation to explore a little more of the puzzle that is you, by writing down your thoughts, responses and feelings. They stand near that place where you might catch a whisper of your own soul asking to be heard and listened to. That whisper is as soft as the sound of a pen on paper. Your purpose is not to tell, but to listen and write down what you hear. In the act of listening and writing it down, you set your soul free. Free to express some of its deepest desires.
From The Spider’s Desk
This is from the first page of a small writer’s zine I published for a couple of years, some time ago. This particular issue was put together in July of 2001. I had the occasion to go looking for it, because I’d been reminded of something else that was in it, during a conversation. But, when I opened it up, I found this logo and an article I had written, that somehow seemed very appropriate for here, today. So, I am going to reprint, in part, some of the article.
Writing is a natural bridge between the two hemispheres of the brain. The Left Brain function is logic, analytical reasoning, and language. The Right Brain is the center of imagination, intuition, and creativity. Usually, one side is dominant and easily ignores the other. Most of us have been trained to ignore or dismiss the more fanciful creations of the Right Brain (“Why would you write poems, you’ll starve to death, get a real job…you can doodle those sketches, or whatever, in your spare time, it’ll never be more than a hobby, anyway…”).
We live in a Logic dominated society. So much so, that the issue of creativity has lots of falsehoods, often called myths, attached to it. Subjective knowledge is often called into question as being far less reliable and valuable than its objective counter-point (“Most people who are artists are that because they are a bit daft, crazy, and just can’t make it in the ‘real’ world”).
But, reality is, the very fact that they are counter-points, one to another, means they are meant to balance one another, not struggle, or be locked into a life-long battle that only leads to exhaustion, frustration, and perhaps depression or despair. Ideally, the two should stand side by side and work together. If they don’t, the individual is left with only a half view of himself, or her world. In essence, the individual is split in two and “never the twain shall meet.” Not a pretty or even desirable picture.
Let’s go back to the bridge which can connect these two often opposing forces within us. Writing. When we write we use words and words are language. That’s a Left Brain function. However, we seldom think in words. Rather, we see images and sense things that we then interpret into words. Those images and sense messages are the function of the Right Brain.
Are you getting this? Write it down. In the act of doing so, you will be using the functions of both sides of your brain and moving one step closer to wholeness. Each time you write, you are actually laying down another brick in that connective bridge. Each brick, in turn, gives you that much more solid ground to stand on.
It all sounds so simple. It is, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Having been a writing instructor, I am only too familiar with phrases like: “But, I don’t know what to write. I can’t spell. My grammar is atrocious and who in the world would want to hear anything I might have to say anyway?” And any one of them, all of them, are simply excuses for not building that bridge. Bridge building is work.
Clue number one: If you are reading this, you can write and are a writer. Big leap there, right? Wrong. If you have enough education to understand the words I am making here, then you yourself can write them. That’s what we learned how to do back in grade school. We learned how to make language in written form. Back when the two hemispheres might have been better connected. Afterall, words are letters (language = Left Brain), and letters are symbols we recognize only in the Right side of Brain.
Most of us have stayed on the reading side of that education, neglecting the writing side for various reasons, most of which come down to fear of exposing ourselves to whatever the rest of the world might think. That doesn’t mean we don’t know how. It does mean we are probably out of practice. Guess what? The more you practice, the more it comes back up to the surface and becomes easier to do. I am practicing right now.
Natalie Goldberg, author of the classic book about writing, Writing Down the Bones, says that all writing is simply practice. Like any other discipline, the more you do it the easier it becomes. And twenty or thirty minutes of journal writing not only keeps it private (not exposed, but by choice), but is not a lot to do if it ends up in wholeness and an awareness of ones own soul.
I personally believe that the river that flows beneath that connective bridge is the Soul. Listen closely, can you hear its constant movement as it swirls around the boulders that attempt to block its passage, laughing and chuckling at its own ability to slide around what stands in its path, while nurturing the life within its liquid richness and the land masses that create its boundaries: the heart (Right Brain) and the mind (Left)? Hopefully, you will listen with both sides of your brain, respond in writing, and continue to do more of the same. What have you got to lose? Your soul?