this too
Friday, October 14, 2005

Pond in Windsor Great Park, near where I spent last weekend

I’ve really enjoyed writing a bit more for the blog this week, since things quietened down around here. Quietened down comparatively, that is – not very much really. But I like finding time to write, even when I’m busy. Wish I did so more often. It makes me feel calmer, less jangling and fragmented.

I don’t often think about why I like to write. It’s a bit like why I like to breathe.

I could wax lyrical about my humble little bit of creative instinct and how allowing it space is deeply fulfilling. And this would be true.

I could also say, though, that it’s all about reducing experience, feelings, to words on the page; tying up chaos to a satisfying pattern. In a word: control. Writing calms me because it gives an illusion of control.

Doesn’t sound too healthy, does it? Perhaps there’s another way of putting it: exercise. Writing is a mental work-out. Stretching out the sore, tense muscles of my mind, and afterwards they feel better. Mmm.

Exactly, Jean. I think writing sorts things out in a way that just thinking doesn't. As for blog-writing, I've found it helps my non-blog writing because it clears out all the extra stuff that's rattling around in my head, interfering with the work at hand. (Guess I shouldn't admit that I used my blogs to empty my brain - but there you have it.) In any case, I always enjoy your writing and your photos -
I guess I'd worry about it more if I thought my mind was doing something other than "tying up chaos to a satisfying pattern" when I wasn't writing :-) But it's just tying it up more crudely and less mindfully, I'm afraid.

If it's a conflict between meditation and writing, then I'd pick meditation as more conducive to mindfulness. If it's a conflict between writing and anything else, though, I wouldn't bother about it. Discursive mind is ruling the roost anyway :-)
Interesting to ponder. For me, it's largely to do with reconnecting with my self. There's a deeper self that I tend to slip out of touch with in the day-to-day drift and busyness. But I seem to be happier and healthier when I stay in touch. For me, that takes intention and work in the form of something creative. I don't think it's the tying up that does it for me, but listening and being heard, and playing. And being in a certain state. But I don't see it functioning at all the same as meditation, Dale!
I mean "listening and being heard" internally... by me.
O, no, I also don't think it works anything like meditation. I expressed myself badly. I was considering whether it was a sort of anti-meditation, whether it locked one more firmly inside the discursive mind, and deciding I didn't think it did.
Dale's comment, "If it's a conflict between meditation and writing, then I'd pick meditation," reminds me of something I just read in an excellent book, ONE CONTINOUS MISTAKE: FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS FOR WRITERS, by Gail Sher:

Just before his teacher Oda Sesso-roshi died, Gary Snyder, hacing stopped writing for six years in order to be 'serious' about Zen, said to his teacher in the hospital: 'Roshi! So it's Zen is serious, poetry is not serious.' The Roshi replied, 'No, no -- poetry is serious! Zen is not serious.'"

But of course, that was the answer for Gary Snyder, not for everyone. For some people, meditation might be serious and writing a diversion; or they might balance each other perfectly. I recommend the Sher book to anyone who has both in their life.
Of course that's "having stopped writing," and my second paragraph should begin with a quotation mark.
Writing a blog rather than a personal journal adds the dimension of a connection with others. It seems to me that it's the two-way communication - the contact with, and the feedback from readers that are the really satisfying aspects.
Sorry, I should have known better, Dale; it wouldn't be like you to be thinking that.
No, no, it's a good thing, Moose! You paid attention to what I said, rather than to what you thought I'd say. That's a good thing, not a bad thing!
Well put, and I love the photos.
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Freelance copy-editor and translator. Keen on language, literature, photography, art, music, buddhist meditation and the countryside.

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