Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Writing out of your soul

I must write for me.

When I started writing seriously I was thirteen. It was a hard, amazing year, due to a lot of personal issues and a really huge season of doubt that broke into my baptism and subsequent growing Christian life.  In my eighth-grade poetry, though the rhythm is bad and the phrases are cliche, I can still feel everything that my soul was fighting with.  That writing was some of my first writing, and some of my worst.  But it was also some of my most honest.

I guess that's a defining trait of powerful writing.  It's honest.  It's honest about where it's been.  It's honest about tears and holding stuffed animals as a teenager because you can't explain that sorrow.  It's honest about how sometimes that stuffed lion that you call Aslan is more real and more alive and more comfort than anything. It's honest about those days you could rule the world, and the days you just want everything to be fixed.  It's honest about how sometimes you are weak and other times you could fight dragons.  Powerful writing tells the truth.  Even if the truth is stained and terrible along with its light and beauty.  Because the truth, the honest truth, sets free.

The truth hurts. Writing about those things was- is- so hard.  Putting it on paper is declaring it, waging war against it, admitting it to myself. When I wrote it down, I made it real in a new way.

"If he wrote it, he could get rid of it.  He had gotten rid of many things by writing them," said Ernest Hemingway.   A lot of people have pointed out how writing is like catharsis.  Writing, for me, helps me understand why I feel the way I do.  It helps me sort out truth from error.  It helps me to see in ways that I can't see when I don't write.   It helps me declare war and it helps me to fight that war. 

Words. Words on paper, black splotches on ink, changing lives. Changing ME. First and foremost, writing has changed me. I write for me. Oh, I write for others, but I write out of my own soul.  That's where the power of writing transforms.  

And hopefully, as words have healed and changed me, they might do the same for others.

I'm going to write anyways, because I have to write. For me, the most powerful urge is the one that comes from my soul.  That's the urge that calls me to understand the world, the God who made it and the strange and beautiful story that I am living.

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