I often wonder at the back of my mind, where most wondering takes place, if this whole writing thing provides benefit to others. I’m not a published author nor do I have anything published in print. I have a couple of articles out there in travel blogs, wine blogs and my personal blog. But that’s about it. Have any of these actually helped anyone?
I’m not talking about a comment that might read, “Thank you so much for this article! I know which markets to go to for Christmas shopping :).” I’m talking about helping someone at a fundamental level. The kind of read where the reader doesn’t comment, but leans back in his or her chair and thinks, “Huh. There’s something to think about.” I suppose I’m really talking about a piece of writing that strikes you. A piece of writing that makes you believe in some intangible or abstract feeling or thought that you have long since forgotten or ignored.
If this happened to you, how long did you consider the effect of what you had just read? Did you make a change in your life based on someone elses words? Or did you get up and make another cup of coffee before logging it into the back of your mind for later wonderings?
People don’t listen to each other anymore. In old times, story telling was a way of passing knowledge on. It was (I think) a right reserved for those who had the storytellers voice, for those who were respected and therefore believed. They were charged with the great task of telling the story just as they were told it, so the inherent wisdom and beneficial knowledge would be ingrained in their listeners.
We have millions of storytellers today. None of them have been chosen. They have all chosen it for themselves, just as I have. What gives any one of us the right to say that our story is the one people can learn from? Nothing. Nothing and no one. We have not had some angelic being telling us to write for the good of mankind. We have not had an epiphany and realised we have to write or we’ll die unhappy. We have only had ourselves. Our own fucked up thoughts and feelings grinding away at us until we purge it onto a page. This is the craft of writing. Anyone can do it. Very few truly feel it. Even less live it.
There is a lot of shit out there. And there is a lot of craft. If you listen to all of it, your brain will be scrambled into pornography advertisements, pop culture movies and an uncertain belief that you have to be married to be happy. Because love conquers all, right? Well, actually yes, it does. Love comes in many forms. My love is writing. No, wait. I am in love with writing. She is my wife, my mistress, my bitch. She eats at me and I shout at her. She consoles me and I confide in her. She excites me and I am motivated by her.
When next you read a piece of writing, feel it. If it doesn’t resonate with you on an emotional or mental level, it’s not right for you. It falls into the “shit” category. If it wraps it’s lettered tendrils around your brain or caresses your heart with prose filled fern fronds, it falls under “craft”. Read whatever you want. As long as you read from those who feel and live the craft.