A French professor of mine once told our class that literature–or the good stuff, anyway–encourages us the dwell in the questions, life’s existential ambiguities. These remarks have always come back to me when I feel the discomfort that often accompanies situations that resist closure. Rarely does pretending that uncertainty doesn’t exist really help matters, which is why I kind of embrace the challenge to sit still among ambiguity.
In fact, reading literature that (mentally) removes me from the structures of the world–like schedules, career paths, definitions of self and others, set ways of being in the world–is freeing. It’s like getting relief for a headache I wasn’t aware I had until it vanished.
Writing in a journal has a similar effect for me. I can be dark or directionless in my jottings, unfinished or unplanned.
When I write professionally or for blogging purposes, I try to find and share the meaning in things. I go hunting for structure and order, both of which I seriously value (I am a creature of routine habits–and thinking, to some extent). It’s my hope that exchanging graspable meaning with others adds value for everyone involved. I love sharing tips and little life lessons! But having the space where it’s okay to resist linearity is crucial. Journaling allows me to feel both more connected and detached from the general world, which is refreshing.
I confess that I haven’t kept up with my journal as much since I finished graduate school. Writing professionally and helping others with their writing usually absorbs quite a bit of my creative energy. The blogging life feels imbalanced, however, without a counterpoint in the form of another genre of writing (even a private one). In an ideal world, I would write in my journal every day, but lately it’s been once a week if I’m lucky. Still, it helps me feel more okay with the unanswered and not-yet-fully-formed questions that wash in and out of waking hours.
Do you write every day?
Do you keep a journal or have a creative space where you can be just be your untranslated self?