Writing About Writing

“…writing a story isn’t a means of self-therapy, it’s nothing more than a meager attempt at self-therapy.”

– Murakami, Hear The Wind Sing

Although Mr Murakami seemed to have taken a rather pessimistic view towards writing as a form of self-therapy in his first novel, I’d like to think that it works rather well for me.

Thoughts that feel jumbled in my head, thoughts that I fret about, thoughts that lurk around in hidden corners of my brain – somehow they assume a certain natural order and form when I pick up a pen and attempt to coax them out. Through writing, I can rationalize my thoughts, analyze why I think or feel in certain ways, and strategize what I can do about them. The more I write, especially with pen and paper, the more I feel that the processes happen naturally.

Sometimes I read what I wrote in my many previous notebooks, and surprise myself by finding the words increasingly unfamiliar, as if they were penned by someone else. And perhaps they were – A hidden being in the depths of my consciousness.

We all need an outlet for expression, and writing works for me, more so than verbal expression. I’ve always been selective about who and what I confide in and about. Furthermore, with voice, I may get distracted by tone, thrown off by subtle vibrations and feel overly conscious about vocal quality. Not forgetting body language, eye contact, and a host of other things to consider when it comes to expressing yourself verbally. But writing, a largely silent and private activity, feels more patient. It provides space, and the possibility of  expanding it. I can take as much time as I need between each word, to coax my hidden thoughts, their motives and intentions to life. And because I don’t always need to let the whole world know what I’m thinking, I relish getting to know that hidden part of my being, sometimes all too easily buried under the 21st Century’s emphasis on impressive appearances, confident delivery and effective presentation.

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