This week’s prompt was suggested by Friday’s Voice Amanda Kasper:
Why do you write?
“We write because we believe the human spirit cannot be tamed and should not be trained”
~Nikki Giovanni, To Write Love on Her Arms
Last night, as I spent some time at Barnes & Noble seeking the perfect birthday gift for a dear friend, I got lost in the spirit of reading and writing, of journaling, of turning thoughts into words and deciding when and what to share with the world.
I’ve written my whole life, but it’s always looked a little different. In the very beginning, it was scribbles in a wide ruled, spiral bound notebook – details of family vacations, of middle school crushes, of everything that makes sense to a kid. In high school, it was a running word document. Nearly 200 pages long, double spaced and password protected. It was then I learned the power behind words, behind feelings, behind journaling. At first, I was adamantly against the overwhelming thoughts in my head leaving, entering the world, becoming real. I didn’t want to see them on paper. I didn’t want to see them at all really. That’s how I learned to write without thinking; to write until my eyes blurred over, until the rapid moving thoughts slowed in my head slowed down enough to breathe. The freedom I felt, it transcended into life, into my demeanor, into my belief in expression, in creative license, in anything crafty and meaningful.
In college, I kept a series of journals, each one starting and stopping as abruptly as life moved; different topics in different places; different phases and different feelings written in different ways. Never shared. Never found. Just mine. Through myspace and xanga, I started journaling online – but it was always censored. I knew exactly who was reading it, and I choose just what I wanted to put out into that world. When I went abroad, the easiest way to update everyone I loved in one place, with one click of a button, was to start a real blog. This was my foray into sincere online writing – but I knew nothing more than sharing the link to each new post with my family and friends. There were no graphics, no quotes, everything was written in HTML.
When I returned from 6 months in Israel, I printed that blog, and bound it in a way for me to always have it. While I journaled about my more intimate experiences alone in a foreign country, and I scrapbooked something I am entirely too proud of upon my homecoming, those blog entries pieced together the story of my life – in a way that memory alone wouldn’t be able to preserve.
& More than 3 years ago, I started this blog. I started for one reason – for one person really. But the more I wrote, the more I found strength and confidence in the voice that was developing. I started sharing the link with my closest friends, slowly, as I began to trust that I had things to say – in a way that I wanted others to hear. And somewhere along the way, I made my blog public. As my google reader expanded, I began sharing the link to my own blog with new friends, online acquaintances, and anyone else that was interested in reading. And as it became something bigger than me, something bigger than I imagined, I became more and more inspired to write.
If you know me, you know the number one item on my bucket list is to write a book. Not because I want to be famous, or I want to make money or see my name on a shelf at Barnes and Noble. I want to write, because, well, I love it. And after everything, I believe I have a story to tell.
I honestly believe we write, we find quotes and song lyrics and portions of movies we identify with because we desperately don’t want to be alone. We want to know we aren’t going crazy & that someone else knows exactly how we’re feeling.
We want someone to explain the things we can’t.
We love everything tied up neatly, easy, simple, & when we can’t do that… it scares us.
That’s why I write. I write, because one day, I want someone to be able to find solace and comfort and identity in the things that I’ve learned, and felt, and changed because of.
Why do you write?
Amanda Kasper is a writer, reader, quote lover, CASA advocate, and non-profit believer, seeking space as a lifelong learner, passionate lover, and irreplaceable friend. Amanda tweets at @AKasper513 and blogs over at “& this I believe”