Friday, September 23, 2011

Double-edged Pen

One of the things I love about writing is that I get ample time to choose the right words and combination of words that most accurately express how I feel or what I’m thinking. In school, when a teacher mentions an essay, I smile confidently while most of the class responds with grunts and whines of disapproval at their unfortunate luck. I relish in the opportunity to write, while those with the gift of gab would prefer extemporaneous speech.

When you’re speaking, there’s no reset button, no redo’s, or take backs. Once it’s out, it’s out. (More painfully so of that almost invisible spray of saliva that somehow escapes us on rare occasion) Sometimes, you can clarify, elaborate, or elucidate, but once the vibrations of your initial utterance take form, there’s no going back. Since there is a greater degree for misinterpretation and poor selection in regards to words that are spoken on the fly, I often choose to write to someone instead, particularly, if there are feelings involved. However, there is a lot to be said about verbal and non-verbal feedback that you miss out on, like the telling nuances of facial expression and body language. Also, not being there to explain something they might have misconstrued, and not finding out immediately how they feel about what you wrote is a part of the trade off. In either case, choosing your words wisely is an understatement.

For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always written poetry. Eventually, it became a form of catharsis, a way to release emotions. Over the years, it stuck with me and was my solace in times of emotional uncertainty or turmoil. When I am inspired or passionate about something, I am compelled to write. Words are how I interpret my own sensory data about the world around me, and a way to share that information. Interestingly, there is an aura of vulnerability, a window to the soul that is opened when pen meets paper, and stays that way long after the candlelight is extinguished, or the glow from the monitor fades.

Writers are an interesting lot. We write for many reasons, and while many of us write for ourselves, there is still a desire for reassurance, admittedly or not. Just as with any other art, writers want to elicit emotion, persuade thought, inform, or to know, even in the smallest way, that they are appreciated. We want to know that our toil was worth it. We want validation; a modicum of recognition, whether a knowing nod or a pat on the back. It isn’t easy to get in front of a group of people to talk, but with practice, you can master all the little skills that come naturally to us during regular conversation. When you speak, you can be whoever you want. You are the gatekeeper and can choose to reveal as much or as little of your true identity, peeling back the layers with slow and deliberate action, or ripping them off like a band-aid. However, written words provide a direct portal to your essence, a window to your being...they are a giant aquarium that passersby can look through and point with wonder.


heartinsanfrancisco said...

I so agree with all of this! I am far more comfortable writing when something of emotional import is at stake. I speak easily, the words rarely fail me, but when it's really, really important, I prefer to edit myself and to ensure that I have used the exact right words in the perfect order to express myself.

And just because I so enjoy your writing, here are lots of big back pats and much adulation, plus gratitude for sharing your thoughts and words here.

mischief said...

I would like to read your poetry. How about it?

Brown said...

heart - Awww, thank you so much. Although, I wasn't fishing...I swear.

mischief - Anytime. I do have a penchant for the macabre though, but something tells me that might be right up your alley.