Marking The Space
Okay, I’m back here again because I promised myself that I would write prose at least once a week, instead of thinking about it, and never really doing it. But, par for the course, now that I’m here, I have no idea what I will write about. That’s not quite true. I have a zillion things I could write about, my thoughts are seldom empty. Just don’t have an idea of what to choose. So, I’m doing what I often do with poetry. I’m starting with an image and hoping that will get me to the end of this particular stint of words.
The image is one I found online and saved because it makes me laugh out loud and never gets old. It represents a great many things to me. First of all, because it is true. Animals, especially predators, do mark their territory by peeing on it. That scent is a warning to any other living creature that this space belongs to an animal who must hunt and forage to sustain his own existence.
And it applies to human beings as well. This is my blog, my space and no one other than myself may enter and write here without my permission. Does that mean I might be a predator, a ferocious animal out to make dinner from any unsuspecting creature who might accidentally wonder into this page? No. But maybe yes in an odd sort of way.
I’m a human being who loves to write. It is perhaps the strongest urge I own, except perhaps for the taste of chocolate. When it comes to chocolate, I can easily see myself as a ferocious predator at moments. But that isn’t what I am about today. That might come later, if and when I finish this current undertaking and decide I need to reward myself for doing this other thing I do.
So, back to this whole writing thing. What was that yes, that crossed my mind just a few moments ago? Yes, I’m a writer and yes, I can be a bit ferocious about all of it. Do I do it because I simply love the sound of my own voice? Is this me just marking my territory? Making my presence known and letting others be warned to take care within this space?
That would definitely be a No. Sort of, again. I started writing because it was the simplest means to see what it was I was trying to say. I grew up being told that I didn’t know what I was talking about. Couldn’t see what was right in front of me. Had no real concept of what the world was about, and that my words and thoughts were untrustworthy. So, how did I become a writer, no less? That story is here, in bits and pieces that astound me more than anyone else. But I did become a writer, constantly making notes of what I saw and felt, heard and read.
And eventually those notes became paragraphs, essays, and even poems. But then, I began to receive acknowledgements, even awards for that writing. And you best believe, no one was more surprised than I was when that happened. I finally realized that I really liked and enjoyed writing and knew that whatever happened, the laying down of words would be an essential part of my existence. I might stop for a few months, even a year, but was always called back to this place that allowed me a sense of wholeness, of being alive, like no other had ever done.
So, does that make me a predator, a ferocious creature looking for my next meal? Yes, in a very real way it does. But the food on which I feed is not other living things. It is words that I seek, have a need to understand, their meanings are always food for thought, and a means of further growth and the sustaining of my life.
But I also love to encourage others to do the same. When I hear someone struggling with an issue, I will often tell them to write about it until they’ve examined all of their own feelings and understand them. Once they have done so, they are far better armed to deal with whatever is really bothering them. By writing down our feelings, we are confronting them. Allowing them to tell us some aspect of our own story. Perhaps one that has been overlooked or needs a bit of mending, or healing. And I have always found an element of healing in writing. That’s why I started doing it, never realizing that I was laying down the grounds that eventually led me to define myself as a writer.
And so, the answer is yes, I am a predator, forever searching out what will best feed me. These words are me, marking my space, leaving my scent for anyone who happens upon them. Not as one who would destroy another life, but as one who does and will continue to encourage others to do the same. I believe that story is good, perhaps the best sort of medicine. Someone out there needs to hear that story only you can tell. Needs to learn how you dealt with the ups and downs of finding your very own space. And how you made it your own.
I started writing in a cheap three ring binder on loose leaf lined paper. Making notes of my own feelings and thoughts. I had no idea of how it would one day become an active profession, that led to me teaching others how to do the same and find value in it. As a matter of fact, if someone had told me that would be the end result, I’m fairly certain I would have turned tail and run like hell, yes, even if they were offering me chocolate to get me to listen. And if I’m to be totally honest, I would have been peeing the entire time. Not in any attempt to mark my trail, but out of sheer terror at the very thought.