Wail or, Why I Write
You’ve seen it on the news. Some tragedy befalls a community in the middle east and the news cameras catch the reactions of the mothers, wives or sisters of the fallen. In their grief they throw their heads back and wail. No shame. Just pure anguish.
I wish sometimes, in my pain, I could do the same. But I descend from Calvinist Northern European stock. We don’t show our emotions. We keep them bottled up and wait until we can be alone and weep. We remain stoic. Force ourselves to be calm. Not letting others feel uncomfortable.
The pain must leak out somewhere.
Some run marathons or scale peaks. Others seek therapy or perhaps a 12-step program. Others search out relief in meditation or spiritual pursuits.
Instead of wailing, I write.
Write about disappointment. The pain of loneliness. The hopelessness of one more day.
I write about the pain those around me suffer. About injustice. About what makes me angry.
I also write about joy in simple things. Ecstatic happiness. A desire fulfilled.
I’ve processed life in written word for over 30 years. I’m sure I will continue to do so until I’m no longer able.
As I move forward with this blog, I’ve been asking myself what part of my life I want to share. I recently read, “Writing to Change the World,” by Mary Pipher. In this work, Pipher, a psychologist, writes about why and how we write. Whether poetry or prose, fiction or non-fiction, she believes we write to make sense of our experience. If we write honestly, we allow others to see into our lives. More than that, Pipher believes our stories connect us. Our human experience has more similarity than differences.
And that’s it right there.
That’s why I want to write.
I want to be honest and vulnerable with my experiences to show how humans are more alike than different. I want to make sense of my life, sure – but I also want the stories to connect with the reader. In this I don’t mean playing the comparison game (more on that in a different post) rather through my words I pray they can see their connection to others – in love, in grief, in suffering, in joy. As well I hope they can also begin to focus in on their life path and what they believe they were created to be and to do. We are unique but joined – all part of the mystery in creation.