Thursday, September 18, 2008

On Writing

Last night I was up until 1am writing the museum review below. I can't remember the last time I stayed up so late feverishly writing away for the sheer pleasure of it and not because I had a term paper due the next morning. It's not as though I even knew what I was going to say beyond my opening paragraph when I began, but somehow the ideas kept coming and by the time I was done I was on such an adrenaline rush that I might as well have downed three Turkish coffees.

I feel that I have rediscovered a lost love - the love of writing.

As I young child I felt compelled to write down stories, usually first chapters of what I was sure would someday become some of my many wildly successful novels. In seventh grade I remember being given the privilege of opting out of our regular English studies for the opportunity to create a collection of fantasy short stories and then a complete children's book. Looking back, I can't say that I find any of these stories to be particularly well crafted; I had a habit of starting off strong and then petering out because I hadn't mapped out a logical conclusion.

Still, I wrote. On into college I wrote, although by that time the tedium of producing essays and articles to fit someone else's choice of topics had started to take its toll, and I was no longer writing for the simple joy of it. In my journalism classes I struggled to mold my style to fit the requirements of writing a news story. But I will never forget the time when, with my graduation close at hand, one of my professors, who happened to be the head of the print journalism division at PLU, asked what I planned to do at this point.

"I'm not sure," I admitted.

"Well, whatever you do, you should write," he told me. "You need to write."

Do I need to write? And if so, is it for my own benefit, because I need this outlet, because this is how I can best bring into focus the world around me? Part of my excitement last night stemmed from the fact that in writing about the exhibit I opened my own eyes to ideas I hadn't even previously considered. I won't claim my writing was anything spectacular or original, or that it would have much meaning to anyone else, but I felt as though I had found the key to an unexpected treasure. Much like how an Impressionist painting can cause you to look at a simple still life in a totally new way, so the act of writing brought forth new connections and observations that I wouldn't have otherwise made.

I'm not sure where writing this blog will lead me. Maybe it will eventually be nothing more than a dusty cyber artifact of a brief period of my life. Who knows? For now I am content with the fact that I am writing again, writing for no other reason than the newly rediscovered desire simply to write.

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