|Look a little more closely…|
My inward life (narrative, spirit, meaning) and outward life (events, tasks, purpose) have been approaching each other at an increasing rate, and the transparency this creates causes some re-evaluation of publicly-held assumptions like what I am. For instance, is being a writer my core occupation — my “real” job, where “real” means “true, valid, essential”?
It dawned on me that writing, for all its wry, playful and muscular delight,
is, for me, a means to an end. Here’s why.
I’ve considered myself a writer since I was 10 years old. My mother gave me a blank book to write my poems and stories in, when I was 11 years old — a step up from my plethora of scoliotoc spiral-bound notebooks — so at that point I was clearly committed.
But my earliest coherent memories are of comforting her, of trying to rescue baby birds, of helping to wash and change my baby brother.
So there’s something I’ve been doing longer than writing.
As an adolescent, I probably spent more time rescuing cats, dogs and (more successfully this time) birds than I did putting words down on paper.
Writing is a joy, and it’s a tool. I know I wrote the right thing when someone says, “That really cleared things up for me,” or more transcendently, “This helped me so much.”
I write to heal. First, I wrote to heal myself, but now, it’s a way of doing a bit of good in the world outside my own head.
As I remarked to a friend of mine, some people go into the healing professions because they like the feeling of power it gives them to help others.
(Many of them are very good at their challenging jobs, so I’m not inclined to dis their motivations.)
Some of us go into it because we like to help people find their strength and set themselves free.
I used to enjoy some of that power, though I believe I did a good job of maintaining perspective in the face of the quite extraordinary impact an emergency nurse can have.
Of course, what I really loved about that job was the scope and depth of challenge, and the instant feedback. Never a dull moment, and I learned a lot.
Now I have lost what taste I had for power over others, even benevolent power. But I have always loved helping people find their strength and watching them set themselves free.
These days, when I think of anything worth doing (after taking care of myself), that’s what it comes back to: helping people find their own strength, and watching them set themselves free.
Writing lets me do that in absentia, while I’m unconscious, perhaps even long after I’m gone. If I do my job well, others will be reminded of their own strength, or find the clue they need to set themselves free.
So, I’m a healer… who writes.
|At least I have better dress sense and less disturbing kibitzers than this guy.|
I hope it helps.