The Why of It

I write because I really like to do that, and for numerous other reasons. In grade school, when learning how to shape and form letters into words, it was simply the appointed curriculum I had to do in order to prove myself. Each letter was a picture, an image that when properly replicated, would allow me to say whatever I wanted, or needed to say. And that was of utter importance to me. So, I worked hard at it.

When very young, I was involved in an accident and sustained a serious head injury. Hospitalization and immediate, urgent surgery allowed me to walk away without any real harm. Yet, my whole life and self-definition had been permanently altered. I was told, quite often, that my words were not reliable, that I exaggerated, or even lied. So, the shape and form of those individual letters were far more important to me, than they might have been to my fellow classmates. And the need to excel was even more so. I had something to prove.

That little girl is still alive inside of me. It took another thirty years, before I began to understand even some of what had happened. Yes, I had been changed by my experience, but that only meant that I saw things differently than others. Not that what I saw was somehow incorrect, just different.

I entered college late, mid-thirties, and was told, early on, that I had a gift with words, and how to use them. That same little girl stepped forward and with a great deal of eagerness, set out to prove that statement. And she did. However, she never completely lost those shadowy feelings of wrongness. But, with the help of some very good teachers, she somehow managed to find a balance between those two realities. Which meant that every time she put her fingers forward, she also brought with her those doubts about her own legitimacy and the rightness of doing this thing called writing.

It took many more years, of winning awards, and of being approached by perfect strangers, telling her that her words gave meaning to their own feelings, even healed much of their own self-doubt, before I could sit to write without having to fight off those niggling doubts about my own inadequacy. One morning, I arose and knew that I would be writing, even knew what I’d be writing about, and went eagerly to that endeavor. That doesn’t mean that I skipped the part about rereading and closely examining every word I had chosen. That was just good, sound practice, built over years of ongoing experience. A part of the work that is as important as the first decision to write at all.

The desire to write comes in all kinds of different guises. Here, I am telling you my most basic ones. The deep desire to be heard, to be listened to, and to be understood. There are so many more I could list. But, this is the primary one. Yes, the Call came late, but so much better than not at all. What is even more important, is what I learned by answering that Call.

What I learned is that, the Call came from that same little girl. And the only person she was calling to was me. She needed to be heard, listened to, and understood by only one individual. That would be me. She had been carrying this gift for years, just waiting for the chance to give it to me. Now we sit together to write. She brings her eagerness to unfold those letters and make them stand up and speak. And I bring the Wisdom that she, alone, can patiently unravel.

Do you know why you write?

Elizabeth Crawford 5/23/2017

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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: https://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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6 Responses to The Why of It

  1. Sherry Marr says:

    This was beautiful to read, Elizabeth. You reminded me of when I was eight. The teacher was dictating words, and she said the word “paw”. I wrote it with such care. It was the first time I remember falling in love with a word. When I was fourteen, a torrent of words began to flow through me. I wrote them down as if I was taking dictation. I have written ever since, but more frequently since discovering the world of online poets, where we can share our love of words with each other. So satisfying!

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1sojournal says:

      Thank you Sherry. I really like how you remember that first word that moved you so deeply. Enough to keep you writing all of these years. And couldn’t agree with you more about the online sharing and how it feeds and nurtures so many of us. It keeps us reaching for all those other words.

      Elizabeth

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  2. ihatepoetry says:

    I began writing when I was going through an existential crisis as a 16 year old (as much as that is possible). I wanted to kill myself and wanted to will myself into another existence. I started writing as a way to imagine an alternate reality. I didn’t have to wait for life to come along: writing made me imagine my future into existence. When I write I’m not Mexican, I’m not overweight, I’m not insecure, I’m not so obviously broken. When I write, I find that other existence. Thanks for asking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1sojournal says:

      And thank you for your honest response to the question. I think the words, for me, were some sort of shield that would allow me to hide my deep hurt and anger (perhaps in that way, similar to your own reasons), only to find that they instead forced me to face it each time I wrote. It took a long time to realize that the weapons(?) I had chosen were really instruments of healing, that kept me breathing far longer than I ever intended.

      Elizabeth

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  3. I really enjoyed reading this post, Elizabeth. A lovely account of how you came write. I think I also have a “little girl” inside who wants to be heard but I never experienced a trauma like you did – or at least not in the same way.

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    • 1sojournal says:

      Thank you Robbie, for reading and commenting. Each of us owns an inner child, some of us have more than one. It all depends on our individual experiences. Those experiences become the filter through which we experience our present moments. And that filter becomes the catalyst to how we respond to those present moments. I believe, that no one gets through childhood without some amount of trauma. It is Life happening to us as we learn how to live. That also means, to me, that it is imperative that we get to know that child. That is not always an easy or simple thing to do. But, I also know, from my own experience, that it is possible. It largely depends on our own willingness both to do the work, and to learn from it.

      Because you think she is there, and wants to be heard, you are already halfway to accomplishing that reality. What remains is for you to let her know that you are willing to listen. That sounds so easy doesn’t it? I found it very difficult because my inner child frightened me. She was a very angry and rebellious little shit who could out curse a Longshoreman. And she took a great deal of pride in being all of those things. But, we do have a lot of information at our disposal. You might begin by watching the movie, “Hook” with Robin Williams. It speaks to a great deal of what this discussion is all about.

      Elizabeth

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