i celebrate myself and write myself

A few days ago, I posted this image to Facebook:

I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say.

It resonated for me, and reminded me of how important mamamusings.net was in helping me to discover what–and who–I cared most about in the world around me.

Last night, over dinner, I found myself talking about how important I thought it was to have a daily practice of creative work. That practice can take many forms–words or images or music or artifacts, digital or analog, public or private–but it matters. Not just in helping us to maintain and improve our skills, but in shaping who we are.

I engage in many creative practices, but by far the most important one for me resides in my words. Spoken words and written words. Private conversations, semi-public Facebook updates and comments, public blog posts. Words spoken in the classroom, words written in a letter, words typed on a computer or a smartphone keyboard.

My creative process and practice, however, is deeply social. I think best when I think out loud–in conversation with someone who asks interesting questions and offers insights, or in presentations where I can see understanding or dismissal in the eyes of the audience. I write best when I have an internet connection, and can quickly look up the quote or the concept or the image that will help crystallize my words–and when I can share the words in a space where they’ll be seen and responded to by others. I’m aware when I write of my audience (or at least of *an* audience, which may or may not be the one that I end up with when the words are published), and I’m telling them a story.

This morning, I’m writing as I sit on my balcony overlooking the Adriatic Sea. I sometimes worry that by trying to capture the sense of wonder I feel at my surroundings I am lessening the experience. But I suspect that worry is spurred less by a genuine sense of loss and more by listening too much to others bemoaning mediation. For me, I think, the act of capturing and expressing these moments of grace doesn’t detract from them, it strengthens them. To write about the experience, for me, is to understand and recognize it in a deeper and more resonant way.

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself.” Yes. And I write myself into existence, both intellectually and socially.

3 Comments

  1. I had forgotten how much I love “Song of Myself.” So much there that resonates with what I was thinking while I wrote this.

    “You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.”

    “In me the caresser of life wherever moving, backward as well as forward sluing,
    To niches aside and junior bending, not a person or object missing,
    Absorbing all to myself and for this song.”

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