Once in a while I don’t have a topic to write about, so it comes as a gift and a surprise when a topic flows through my willing fingers. I don’t worry about what to write about. Rarely do I think much about my topic until I get ready to write. It all comes to me in perfect timing and never do I have to stress about the words, my ideas, how I’m going to format my paragraphs, or who I’m reaching. I write because I love to write. I trust in my writing and where it’s taking me. Most days I write something that reaches inside of my soul and gives me insight to something I wasn’t aware of an hour before I touched my keyboard. I write because it helps me understand things in a way that overrides the common confusion of simply being a part of the human race in this foggy world we live in. It’s where answers to my greatest questions reside. It’s such a damn beautiful thing.
The beauty of creative writing is in the not knowing ahead of time where it’s taking me. Even when I write books my process involves a lot of trusting myself in knowing what comes next. I don’t do outlines, nor do I necessarily know how the book is going to end. Writing for me is about faith. It’s a knowing that what I’ve got to say is right at the tip of my fingers. If I was born a writer, then there should be no struggle to write (right?). It’s all a matter of longing to write and being disciplined enough to do it.
When I was confused about who I was and where I was going with my life, the one thing I always knew without doubt was that whatever direction I went in, there would always be a book in me needing to be written. This is still the case and I have no intention of ever stopping writing. I even go as far as to think about how I would write if I were stranded on an island without a pen and paper (thanks for the tip, Tom Hanks in ‘Cast Away’). I think about how I would write if I were locked in a cell, or lost in a desert. There are ways. I’ve thought of ways. And then there’s the awful thought about what I would do if I lost a hand, or my ability to actually sit down and write. Well, thank YOU Steven Hawking for showing me that nothing can stop you from being who you truly are. Even a motor neuron disease, which has nearly paralyzed this dynamic man, has not stopped him from having his own television show and telling the world how the universe works. He can’t talk, but he has found an alternative way to communicate – with the world, mind you. There are no excuses for me not to ever write. Bury me with a pen and paper. My corpse will probably stir with the need to write. It’s that innate within me.
I meet a lot of people who tell me they don’t know what their passion is while they are constantly taking photographs, or raving about what they cooked for dinner last night and how their spouse loves every meal they make. Some mothers I’ve met are incredibly talented as mothers. There is an actual art to being a good mom. It’s not something we think of often, but I’ve known women who actually say that they were born to be a mom. I know dads who nurture in ways that I am lacking as a mother. They are a dad because they love being a dad. I’ve had teachers that trump the general teacher card because they knew exactly how to keep my interest and to make learning exciting.
Everyone has a gift, or several. The thing we have in common is that when we are experiencing that gift organically, the last thing we are doing is thinking about it. It just flows through us. This is a spiritual experience. Spirituality is simply the opposite of physicality. It’s the wind that blows through us without worry of an obstruction of a building or a mountain. It gets through because it has no thought, opinion, idea, worry, judgment or care other than moving through you. If the experience of your gift gets stifled, it’s because you’ve gotten in its way with your thoughts, opinions, ideas, worry, judgment and cares.
What writing is teaching me – is how to be. It’s showing me the way. It reminds me to be present. If I am not present in my writing I’m not going to get very far, or make much sense. My words will be a maze of confusion like my tricky mind. If I could only trust my entire life the way I trust my writing process, I would be a feather floating in the gentle path of the wind; detached, carefree, open, willing, un-opinionated, brave, completely trusting of my life experience. How do I do this? How do I get to this place where I am not hogtied to my conditioned way of thinking? I want to know.
I had no idea what I was going to write about this morning when I poured my cup of coffee and opened my Microsoft Surface. I only knew I wanted to write. Perhaps if I go about this day with this knowing, and with this faith of being present, my life will eventually become a masterpiece… or perhaps not, but at least by being present, there are no limits to what I do, where I go and who I am. Not knowing what comes next is a life without limits. A life without limits… what a brilliant way to be!