For the first time in my life, writing has begun to feel like a ritual. A sacred practice. A practice that I not only rely on, but one that encourages me to grow. As I near graduation, I find myself visiting the contemplative depths that exist within me. I find myself both softening and hardening, opening and closing. Such dichotomies have come to define my latest experiences. I have allowed myself to consider new thoughts and to close the door on others, on those which creep into my life as willfully as knapweed, dirty thoughts that insist they’re beautiful.
These thoughts have begun to feel clear as a result of more frequent writing. In the past, I wrote primarily when tempted by inspiration but now, I find myself writing everyday. Perhaps a few lines. Perhaps several pages. By engaging my writing, I have learned a great deal about patience. I have learned to be patient with both myself and with others. This, I do believe, is of the utmost importance. I have never worried too much about getting my work published (not for now) as I am keen on learning and developing my skills. As of recent, I’ve begun submitting poems or stories here and there. Rejection, of course, is a large part of being a writer and receiving rejection letters has further contributed to my sense of patience.
Nevertheless, I write because it has become a part of who I am. I do not currently profit off my work but this doesn’t discourage me, it doesn’t deter me from writing or cause me to enjoy the act any less. In fact, I feel the opposite. I feel incredibly inspired to work hard. It is perhaps this very inspiration that has encouraged writing to become a daily activity.
I had a friend over the other evening and she mentioned an interview she’d listened to with Cheryl Strayed, the author of Wild. My friend admitted that she felt better knowing that even successful authors go for months on end without writing. Cheryl Strayed, from what I’ve been told, is a notorious binge writer. My friend told me that she couldn’t imagine how I wrote everyday and I replied by expressing my inability to understand how she could go for weeks or months without writing. We agreed that the writing process is so very different from person to person.
This same day, I was scrolling on Facebook and noticed a funny picture another friend of mine had posted. This picture included a page from one of Franz Kafka’s diaries in which he laments, day after day, that he feels unable to write. I have concluded that there is an inherent relationship between patience and writing as a ritual. The desire to write daily may exist, but the ability to might not. Likewise, one might wish to write but lacks the time.
Today I am taking deep breaths to remind myself that I must remain patient. I am overwhelmed by the number of tasks I must complete, all in a rather short amount of time, and I feel sad that I am allocating so much of my time to tasks that I do not care about. Instinctually I wish to get up and leave them behind. To say they don’t matter. To take a drive to the mountains and write. The fact of the matter, though, is that while writing is an important practice that defines parts of my life, it is not “my life.” It does not wholly consume my energies. Nevertheless, I am choosing to feel grateful. I am grateful to have writing as an emotional fall-back, as a kind of best friend, a friend that sticks by me even on days I have little time for it.