Saturday, July 17, 2010

the magic of writing



The other night, I was trying to explain to someone about my penchant for writing, and how it is an avenue for learning, both personally and hopefully for others.  It makes me think.  It allows me to feel openly with abandon.  Writing allows me to express feelings beyond what is socially acceptable.  I put it out there with the hopes of punching a hole in the beliefs of another and allowing the feelings to seep out.   

It was difficult to find the words to describe how much of it is the process rather than the end product .... how I choose a topic and then allow the words to find me then flow through me like I'm simply a vessel to allow those words to carry thoughts out into the public domain.   I don't know whether I made sense.  It was after sipping on a Mojito.  Since they tend to numb the lips, there is a chance I simply clouded the conversation with gibberish.  

Tonight, a friend sent me a video that really hit home.  The woman is a fictional writer from Turkey named Elif Shafak.  Her message, which included some of her own story, was so compellingly accurate to the beliefs I carry with me about writing fiction.  Though it appears that I write autobiographically, and indeed have done more so in the past couple of months, the art of writing fiction is where I gather the most pleasure from. There is nothing more sacred for me than to slip into the abyss of my imagination only to be able to hook onto a story that is created simply for sharing as fiction.  

So often,  I write a piece and automatically there is an assumption that the feelings expressed through a character are ones I am feeling personally.  Sometimes, even when I write in first person, I am writing fiction. Or if I'm sharing a story of another person I have met, it is assumed that this is the full story of one person.  Particularly when I write a piece that is oozing in emotional description, its not uncommon for someone who is close to me to ask me if I'm alright because the intensity of what I have written frightens them into thinking I'm some suicidal crazy person.  I'm not.  I am definitely not myself these days, but I am pretty solidly grounded. 

One the points this woman in the video made resonated with me.  As she described what it was like to be labelled a "multi-cultural" writer, not only did I realize how often we do that....... expect someone from another culture to only write about that and nothing else ..... I realized that my own writing pegs me with certain labels.  I hate labels.  I write what is in my heart at the moment.  

Most wholeheartedly, I write from experiences but also from my ever vivid imagination. It is therapy.  I love the process.  And when it flows out of me like it is tonight........ so that I feel like an open vessel channeling words and expressions that I have no clue as to where they originate, except to believe they are my way of connecting with God?  I feel blessed.  I feel responsible. I feel that the power of connecting unanchored thoughts to the visceral reality of words is something I wish I could bottle and sell. It is a beautiful feeling. 

What is in me is in you.  The gift I have been given is to be able to find a way of sharing this so that sometimes a reader will have an AHA moment.  It may be fiction that I'm writing.  It may be a true story I am sharing. Whatever avenue I decide to share, it is in hopes that I do cross into your boundaries and hopefully and tap on what is perceived as truth.  

"I feel therefore I am free"............... this is a quote she used in the video.  It jumped out at me!  How true !!!!  Writing is the way in which I feel the most freedom to feel openly.  So often, this is totally unacceptabel to others if it is done in any other manner.   When I attempt to express myself in person verbally, I often threaten others with how comfortable I am in being direct and honest.  I am who I am.  

Through my writing, I can express the same thing, but it is less intrusive.  It allows the recipient to either read it fully and absorb the intensity of what I am trying to describe, or they can walk away.  Being present face to face live and in person is sometimes too much for others.  When I heard this quote spoken by this woman, I smiled knowing that it is through our feelings we can embrace a sense of freedom far more reaching than if we live in a place where only intellectual thoughts are shared.  Who the hell really cares about theory or acquired knowledge if it isn't expressed from the heart in a passionate manner?  No one.  If you FEEL the thoughts and ideas, you are more authentically received.  Tell a story, you have a receptive audience.  Chatter away about theories, you have an audience nodding off.

Writing is therapeutic.  For me my writing began around this time 5 years ago.  It hasn't stopped.  It flows, unfolding as I write.  I usually start with a thought.......... one single idea, and then I open my heart and mind to let it flow.  While I type it comes to me. Not before..... Even the autobiographical stuff.  Rarely do i have pre-meditated intentions.  I may have sketched it out in my head, but it always, always, always surprises me where the thought and the ideas and even the sketched out story in my head leads me.  I love these kind of surprises.  I don't like surprise parties or the ones I have been tossed my way recently whatsoever, but I like when my own thoughts morph into a surprise!

What i hope is that it leads me to you.  I hope that what I write and how I write leads me right to you wherever you are, and wherever you long to be.  For me, it is a transcendental state of being.  It allows me to stretch beyond my own borders to a place where learning and shifting occurs without struggle.  For you?  I don't know.  It is such an individual thing.  What i write about may resonate.  It may even hit a raw place in you.  Or, it may simply miss the mark because of where you are in your life journey.  All I can do is put it out there for consideration in hopes that it is fodder for contemplation. I have no control over that. 

Actually, I have no control over a damn thing, except what I choose to put out there, and how I choose to react to what is offered to me.  

Was I successful in explaining how pivotally important writing has been in my learning journey as well in my spiritual healing one?  I doubt it.  Mojitos have a way of clouding the brain and sending you into a place where you want to talk about other dreams rather than something that makes you think too much.  It's best to inhale the scent of the evening primrose and sink into the lulluaby of personal story telling connections.  It's heart stuff.... which eventually nurtures the writing. In fact, moments like those are the nuances filtered into writing from the heart.  This is where the magic formulates.... in the connections with others.... where the process begins.




Here is the video.  It is a little long, but well worth our attention....

http://www.ted.com/talks/elif_shafak_the_politics_of_fiction.html

5 comments:

Sachairi said...

This is really excellent, Dana. I feel you explained this perfectly.

You said that when people read your fiction, they see you in it. I don't think that this is necessarily a bad thing. What we have experienced is going to colour the things we do creatively. Whenever I draw a character, people usually tell me that they can see a piece of me in it.

These experiences allow us to delve deeper into any character and storyline we might have, and it makes that character feel 'real'. The people we know could inspire an interesting quirk in a character.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I really liked this piece.

Twain12 said...

i love to read but have a block when it comes to writing. I think it is great that you can express yourself so well and i have AHA moments all the time (thank you)

Susan Deborah said...

Writing not only opens us but also has the ability to make us think, engage and revel. When I first started my blog, it was to rid myself of the pain I was going through. And believe me, it helped. It was cathartic and like I used to call it was like a "washing machine process."

When you write this, I am able to decipher what you have been feeling while writing all that you have.

The personal element in each writing is what makes it reflect US as we are.

I am glad for writing as I am for you.

Have a splendid Sunday dear Dana.

Joy and peace,
Susan

Charlotte Ann said...

I'm am soooooooooooo envious of your ability to express yourself!

awareness said...

Sachairi... thank you! I don't think its a bad thing either because it makes it easier for a reader to be able to look at an idea or a different "take" on something that they may very well be dealing with personally, but can remain at a distant from it. And you're right, no matter what kind of creative venue we use, we definitely put something of ourselves in the project.

Im so glad you read it and left me some feedback. It means a lot to me. xx

Twain... Here's to AHA moments! May they linger on by feeding our souls. :)

Susan.... You are a gift!! thank you. My Sunday has been full of abundance! It's been a great day. And now, while I'm writing you, I am watching the most amazing sunset sky.... It's the colour of cotton candy.

Charlotte Ann... wow! You made my day. thank you. and bless you.