I am amazed that I still write. Before I was fifty, sixteen short years ago, I had a dislike or an actual aversion for writing. When young I did some writing for classes, but apart from that, no, I had no inclination. The few times that I did sit down and try to scribe, what came out on paper only showed inner chaos and pain; no wonder I hesitated to continue that endeavor.
I however did (and still do) love to read. I perhaps read too much, book after book, no doubt a way to shut down the inner voices. Or on a more benign note, to simply try to figure things (the inner chaos) out for myself, as well as to give the impression that I was strong, in control and yes, very intelligent. I suppose that is still operative on all levels, my ego is still quite fragile.
There are many ways to isolate one-self. One way is to close everyone off, another is to be open but opaque or to project a false façade that everyone then believes, perhaps even oneself…..it is a lonely place to be. I had a dream when I was 23 and was still in the novitiate here at the Monastery. I was at the bottom of a long flight of cement stairs. I seemed to be in a cellar of some sort. The steps were lit up with a very intense light, the kind I dislike, like a desert sun, bright and merciless. I felt safe in the basement but at that time I was given a choice. I could stay and allow the gates to close in on me. The gates themselves were made of bone with teeth that extended outward, that would lock together if I let the gates close. To be truthful, I had to think about it, but in the end, I said I would like to keep them open. Perhaps my writing is just another way to keep the cellar from becoming a tomb, a deeper development of that ‘yes’.
In my late forties I would have dreams of my sitting in front of a computer, writing long pages of ‘stuff’. I would wake up and think, why am I dreaming about this (?), I hate writing. Then when I turned fifty I simply wanted to learn how to express my faith by writing about it and have not been able to stop sense. Is it al compulsion? At times I believe it is. Then at other times, when I write I feel as if a great weight is taken off of me, some release of inner pressure. Perhaps it is the relief to be able to show how not in control I am.
I really don’t think per-se. It is only when I sit down that the thoughts flow. I am not an intellectual; don’t have deep thoughts, yet when I write I have no idea where it comes from. Yes I know it comes from me, my experience along with what I have read over the years, but still it is an amazing experience to simply sit down and write to see what comes out. I feel for any editor that has to deal with me.
I find I am normal (whatever that means). That no matter what I write about others get it for the most part. When I talk to people it is often when I tell them that what they are experiencing is common to our species and they feel better and more connected to others. Perhaps I write so I can be seen. Is that not what we all want in the end? To be seen, loved, embraced?
In the loving gaze of the Father (our Abba), all is seen, we are loved, that is why fear is useless……the bright light that was shown me on the stairs was perhaps the gaze of God that I feared.
I believe that the desire for the gate not to close was the seed that led to me writing. Could be true of all writers no matter what they write about. For when we write, we do show ourselves to others perhaps more deeply than we imagine. Especially in our stories even if they are about others and their experiences. I have a priest friend who is a very good story teller. I believe I learn more about him reading these stories that when we actually talk about ‘things’. His deep compassion for others comes across as well as his faith. Even if he may not know this is happening….which I think he does. I do know that when I write, I am often amazed at what people get from it. No doubt if I talked to an author of any piece and told them what I received from the reading, no doubt they would be amazed as well.