Those Dark Caves: Why I Write

This is part two of the “About” series: everything you need to know about my writing.

If asked about why I write, instantly I would respond back, “because I always have.” That is the simplest, yet vague answer I can give, but it is true. I have always been a writer, since being a little kid! But I didn’t just pop out of the womb with a pen in my hand. But it’s possible there may have been ink embedded into my veins, bursting to get out onto the paper. So like most kids, I learned to write in school. But for me, I guess I became one of those kids that took the writing outside of the classroom and into my personal life. I remember being in my room on the floor, creating a secret lair where I would write stories, poems, and big insights on life; as a kid, the imagination is limitless. The secret lair was nothing more than a rectangle space against my wall, but it was enclosed by my desk and bed, so it was ‘secret’. These were good days.

I remember being in grade three, and it was the year for us to learn how to write cursive. We spent a few days learning single letters at a time and then sentences. Being proud of my newly acquired skills, I wrote a class assignment in fancy cursive, which probably looked more like a big paragraph of run-on’s. We had to exchange our assignments with another student. I gave a girl my assignment, and she went to the teacher and told her that she couldn’t read what I wrote. The teacher scolded me for writing in cursive, and made me write it all over again. Apparently the lessons were to start introducing us to cursive, we weren’t supposed to be writing in it. Well gee, thanks for teaching me something that I can’t use for another year!

Growing up, my writing has always been encouraged by my parents. When I was 10, I gave my dad a ‘Book of Poems’ for his birthday. On our big computer I typed out all the poems and created those awesome pictures on Paint, do you remember Microsoft’s Paint? That was the ‘aww’ of the 90’s. My nana would share the poems she had tucked in her Bible with me, usually scribbled out on scrap paper. My mom would hold books up and tell me to picture my name on it. They all knew my favourite hobby, they all supported it in their own way.

Since kindergarden, I have kept a journal. I have lots of juice to look at from the past years. It was always this innate thing in me, to write. Just like I would breathe, and eat supper, and watch Rugrats, I would write.

I think it may be that the inside of me has a lot more to say than the outside. The only way to know what is going on inside of myself is to get a pen, preferably a black Sharpie pen, and sit with my journal. I feel that in writing, I am able to peer into the darker caves within, that I would normally not have access too if I had not spent the time to go and find them. Though quiet on the outside, when I get into those caves, I realize they are quite loud, they have a lot to say.

It is not always pretty though, being in those caves. There are times when I open my journal, stare at it for a few seconds, and shut it. I walk into the cave, stand there, see something dripping, and I know I have to fix it, but I’m tired and I don’t want to deal with it right now, so I leave. Like they say, writing is only about 5% inspiration, and the rest is discipline. I would have to agree. There are many times when I make myself do it, like exercising and eating healthy; I am not always in the mood, but I know it’s good for me. Those moments, where I don’t really want too, I choose too. As a writer, when you spend so much time with introspection- reflecting, wondering, asking yourself things, you end up wrestling with a lot of blessings, and a lot of monsters; beliefs, morals, characters, relationships, purpose; all the big questions, all the big answers, trying to take form. It takes a lot out of the person, to walk into the garden of the soul and look at the messy parts, weed it out, plant new seeds, and keep watering it. It’s like grabbing a huge shovel and throwing out the garbage, but as the garbage is on its way to purge, it comes out as something quite refined, uniquely beautiful, for all the world to read.

To all my readers who are writers, I know you know what I’m talking about. You know the late nights you spend awake, not doing anything but thinking, writing, reading, wondering. You know how difficult it is sometimes to articulate what you feel, because you haven’t had a chance to write about it first. You know what it means to start writing one thing, but ten minutes into it a completely different door opens, something different takes shape. Whether it be a poem, novel, essay, short story, article, journal entry, or play, those words came from a deep reservoir inside of you. You pondered them. You hunted them down. You chose them, you discarded them, and you created something lovely.

Writing can be messy, exciting, challenging, thrilling, full of growth and reward. Writing is art. Writing is creating something that is absolutely craft, choosing words, that form together to communicate a message. Writing is healing. It speaks. It reaches out. It moves hearts. It brings tears.

Writing changes things.

Before there was anything else- like jobs, boy-friends, degrees, apartments, and  traveling, there was writing. Before I knew myself and what I wanted, writing always was. While I am still trying to figure out a hundred things in my life, I still have writing. I write, because I always have.

It is in those dark caves, that I usually find myself.

Why do you write?

Click here to go to Part 1, Vital Organ: What it’s all about

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