“The sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” —Carl Jung
My one professional resolution for the year is to actually write more. The written word is the one way we can leave something behind - it’s a signpost for others, in distilled form. Edited. Reduced. Great writing lets you skip ahead, to absorb that which others had to learn the hard way.
Two things kept me from writing more in the past years, and I figured the best way to unblock the blockers is to name them directly in my first post of the year.
Writing is about writing the truth, or at least the truth as you see it. These days it’s clear sharing that truth makes you incredibly vulnerable.
“I, myself, have found that if I examine something, it’s less scary. We always had this theory that theory that if you kept a snake in your eye-line, the snake wasn’t going to bite you. That’s kind of the way I feel about confronting pain. I want to know where it is.” —Joan Didion
Vulnerability is about saying the things left unsaid. The loss. The mistakes. The tragedies. The unheralded wins. Let’s talk about the snake, because if we don’t, how are we ever going to keep people from being bitten? Let’s keep it in our eye line.
One counterintuitive truth I’ve found is that you sometimes find yourself writing the obvious. What is obvious to you, and your direct community, is often not what is obvious to the people out there. One thing I know I need to do is acknowledge that I am in a community of incredibly smart people, but I cannot begin to hope to write things that are that novel. I think it’s easy to fall into a trap where you think you have to be the Velvet Underground: the new vanguard.
There is more to write than just that which will be impressive to the insiders. In fact, properly accessible writing may well involve a good amount of review for those insiders, and help place that which might be novel in the right context.
I’m looking forward to this year. Bring it on 2019. I will try to write my truth, and I welcome your advice, feedback, and hearty discussion in the months to come.
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