As I write,
these words take on a
ballet dancer's petite form.
And though I wanted to write
the words flow out in such rhythms
that the only thing
that is remotely threatening
is that I no longer have control.
my fingers dance their way
clutching at the mighty pen
giving off but a gentle sway
instead of the rebellion of hungry men.
If they could,
their makeshift prisms would break colors -
these letters would be rainbow-soaked.
Yet now they spread smooth
virgin white marked in black butter,
their core irrevocably forked.
there's twirls of flamboyant speech,
an orchestra plays previously beaten drums,
and suckling from fantasy's intoxicating teat,
the pen's tongue remains mum.
I'm going numb.
The pen still writes,
my fingers unwittingly cannot rest,
I must put up a willing fight
lest I lose my zest.
Rhymes are but circles
evenly staggered flow.
I want you to read,
as I write,
rather than in the know.
I must stop
for I am consumed
and cannot let free.
I must stop
lest this curse of the unbeknown ballet
forever forks me.
Image courtesy: The BA Team
To write about writing would take a rather thick book. We all write, everyday. Whether it be exchanging messages on whatsapp, lengthy to-do lists, emails we never thought we'd need to send, emails we know we need to, messages of affirmation, congratulations, and even those that lie silently in drafts, never to be sent, but absolutely pertinent to be penned down and stored away like the memories they carry.
Writing relieves us. It's one of the top methods used in healing practices (psychology, spiritual exploration etc.) to express better, or maybe, just express. Several studies show a highly positive correlation between journaling and healing from depression, anxiety etc. The reason is simple but warrants a short introduction.
Back in 2012, I had graduated from college in summer and had a few absolutely blissful days before I'd start the brand-new corporate life. It was a rather hot summer - a heat even air seemed to escape from and one that water couldn't get enough of. It suited me very well though, for all I needed was to curl up with a book and I'd be transported to another world - one where the weather was made up of ever transient thoughts. Those days I used to frequent the local library and went through about 2-3 books a week. Sometime during the seventh visit I found the book that changed my perspective on writing as a whole. Conversations with God. The book is the brilliant narrative of a guy who was in a conversation with - you guessed it - God. It took upon questions that constitute the basis of human philosophy - Why me?, Who am I? Why is there suffering? etc. and topics like religion, art, history, money, society and cultures. A must read, if there ever was just one.
However, what's stayed with me through all these years lay inconspicuously in the first five pages. In the introduction to the book, the author says that the book was in fact a real conversation. Feeling overwhelmed and quite dissatisfied with life, religious interventions and emotions, one day he picks up a pen and paper and decides to ask God for answers. That day, as he writes, he can feel something write back. It's not him, but it's his hand that's writing the words he isn't aware of until he pens down. And that's the part he calls God. Now while we can endlessly debate upon the veracity of the anecdote, he illustrates something extremely significant - when we engage in the art of writing (without any agenda, purely for self-expression), we are communicating with ourselves. We are communicating with the unexplored parts of us, those that lie deep within and are probably referred to as the subconscious. Thus writing, in itself, assists us in relieving our burdens - by bringing them to the surface and then making them tangible and easier to accept in front of an audience that can never judge us - ourselves.
And the feeling of being a mere vessel when you write and not the actual author, is one that is echoed throughout generations of authors:
“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.”
― Ray Bradbury
Here's a piece about the feeling of writing from one who's almost escaping from it, in hopes that the next time you write, you open the window to yourself just a little. Maybe the light that comes through has the same warmth that you're basking in as you read this, maybe not. There's only one way to find out...