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Writing Feeds My Soul

The writer relaxing at Sea Ranch,

2019. Photo by Carole Johnson


Writing, for me, is pure: totally involving, pleasurable, existing only for itself, not the end product. In the same way I cherish hiking a trail in the woods early morning, eager to see cottontail rabbits leaping into the brush, or the joy I get pulling weeds in my flower garden--where the aromas of leaves and fresh dirt fill my nostrils--writing is an activity that fully absorbs me. When I finish, I'm flushed with pleasure.

Of course I learn a great deal about myself during the process: writing is a minute examination of some facet of living, subjecting it to the microscope. But while that is useful, it is the mental act of creating sentences and paragraphs or musing over structure that fills my heart with joy. I am a great rewriter, believing each revision only improves the draft; my heart lifts as each sentence receives its polish. Or even when I ruthlessly cut out phrases or larger chunks of writing.

Why is the act itself so pleasurable? That I cannot answer. I am simply grateful that it is so. And I feel fortunate that over the years I've been able to create the space where I can write. Or hike in nearby woods. Or garden. They all feed the same spiritual impulse in me.

Perhaps it is simply that I am a writer, the way others find themselves strongly drawn to architecture or music or sculpture or acting. This happens to be the medium through which the mysterious life force—what some call "the muse"--takes shape.

Only later, much later, do I consider my audience, and what readers might glean from my words. While I am writing, my focus is entirely inward. That, I believe, is what makes it so pleasurable, and ultimately pure.

May everyone find her right place in the world, as I have found mine.


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