Why I write

poemI’ve always enjoyed books and writing. For a long time I kept notes, poems, random inspirations on scraps of paper shoved into the books I was reading. I often treated myself to fancy notebooks & jotted away whenever an idea grabbed me. Somewhere along the line I ended up doing a lots of writing for my corporate job – plans, project briefs, press releases, letters, case notes. Over time these seemed to suck all the fun out of writing. Writing became hard work, a bit of a bind and my love for words stopped. Sentences, paragraphs and pages ground to a halt as inspiration ceased to flow.

I was and always will be a big fan of David Bowie. I remember watching a documentary made in the 70s by BBC TV where he explained how he wrote his songs. He appeared to be a bit tongue in cheek about writing a verse, cutting it up and rearranging the word & lines around. Yet whatever he was doing it worked. His music matched my teenage angst – mixed up, muddled up and confused. I was fascinated to try this way of writing and spent many happy & frustrating hours trying to capture my thoughts and feelings in poems that didn’t scan. Writing was an exploration. A way of saying the unsayable so others might understand. It was an adventure.

Then writing became a chore, slowly but surely, as I drafted and redrafted. As the meaning of what was being written had to fit with conventions, structure and form once more. Eventually I stopped completely. I only wrote when studying or working. My voice was being lost. That became a real issue when I found in my corporate world that what I said was ignored, misunderstood or dismissed. Women have powerful voices. We are creative creatures by nature. We can get to the heart of a matter quickly by ‘reading’ the emotional energy of a person, place, group and voicing what might be unsayable if not unthinkable. We also often find that what we say is disrespected.

I have a daughter. I want her to live in a world that is very different from the one I experienced as a teenager and young woman. I remember my boss walking around the office looking down the blouses of all the women he supervised. I remember his innuendo & the smirk he gave if any of us blushed. He thought it was ok to behave in that way – we were ‘his’ women. All that was a long time ago. You might argue that things have changed so much that the same situation couldn’t happen nowadays. Sadly, it seems it might even be worse.

My daughter is of an age when boys (anyone under 20 to me!) approach her for dates. However they don’t ask if she would like to go out with them. They ask if she wants to have sex with them. And they don’t seem to take no for an answer. Several of them are very persistent. They appear to think it’s ok to make pornographic suggestions as part of normal conversation whilst looking like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths. You might be wondering what this has to do with writing a blog. I’m writing because someone has to tell it like it is. Someone has to be prepared to start the debates.

We need to question human behaviour. It’s important to stand up and be counted in some way. To think deeply about the way we live our lives and the conditioning we accept as a normal part of our lives. All the joy in writing was lost to me for such a long time that I missed one of the ways I can express myself. I have suggested to my daughter that when someone talks to her in a way that she finds disrespectful – and continues to do after she has told them not to – that she finds her voice, her very LOUD voice and lets everyone know how offensive someone has been.

Talking involves both speaking and listening. Writing is the same. I’m speaking by sharing my words. You are listening by reading them. If you understand what I’m saying then let’s have a conversation. Comment about what I’ve said on my blog. You don’t have to agree with me and I don’t have to agree with you. What matters is that we are thinking about, talking about and discussing how we understand the meaning of our lives. Who knows, we might even find we agree more than we expect to.

I also write this blog because I’ve found the joy of writing again. Ideas bounce in and out of my mind all day. It’s fun to sit down in my quiet time and find out which ones are going to emerge as posts. I’m back to scraps of paper, random notes and jottings stuffed into my diary. I’m also back to trying the David Bowie way of assembling things. My writing is exciting again!

Day 57 of my blogging challenge.

4 thoughts on “Why I write

  1. Seems that since the early 70’s the use of internet and our thirst for fast knowledge and grasping a new way of entertainment has enabled many to seek other ways of expression. We are becoming socially awkward! Rather than play a game of CARDS with a group of friends, we found ourselves playing against the computer. Throwing in the towel on relationships and creating a bond with this new technology. I hear about so many people putting down the pen, the books the card games. Why we even don’t like talking on the phone to each other. Is it easier to say NO by text than it is in person? I have found that no reply is the same as NO. Have we all become cowards? Theses ideas pop in and out of my head. My reply may have no relevance to the topic above, except I love reading your blogs Annie. You asked us to share what we were thinking about. This seemed to be relevant to me today when you mentioned human behaviour, speaking and listening.

  2. Thank you for speaking to me Liz 😀 I’m glad my blogs are being read as it’s another form of conversation. I feel your comments are very relevant to why I write. We do seem to be loosing the art of conversation and, perhaps, the art of writing too. A text, tweet or post on social media has become almost our shorthand way of saying how we feel, what we think and what is happening to us. But those brief messages don’t always mean the same as what we want them to. They lack the tone of voice, the natural pauses, the feeling we want to convey. I believe writing well is about the layers of feeling & meaning that come through imagining the voice of the writer in your head. It’s very hard to hear the ‘voice’ if all you have is a 4 or 5 word text. That seems to be why we need emoticons, lol. I wonder if social media will eventually be a phase that passes too? Conversation is still surviving with those, like me, who love a good debate & can talk the hind leg off a donkey. More reassuringly, so can a lot of the teenagers I come into contact with (although they do check their phones an awful lot 😀 )

  3. Annie, I feel your excitement! Thank you for writing about several important topics in one post! Although technology has provided the opportunity to connect many, in many ways, they are not always the deep connections that feed my heart and soul. I still snail mail thank you notes and birthday cards. I feel a deep connection through the written word and through the spoken word. Looking into another person’s eyes and connecting is bliss. On my website and in my blog posts I seek to share authentically, openly and deeply. My greatest joy in life is connections and relationships. I am someone in touch with my feelings. I allow tears to flow, whether from the beauty in nature, a song , a movie, reading a card from a friend, books…My feelings are my humanity. I hear what you are saying about emoticons. I often find myself spending way too much time searching for ‘just the right one’ to convey what I am feeling. (insert smile face here lol). Kudos to you for empowering your daughter! Great post!

  4. Thank you for commenting Donna, it reassures me that people still want to engage in conversations with one another. Writing, whether on paper or electronic, is a form of conversation when we can’t be face to face. I feel we can say much more by writing because the words tend to take hold, to sneak out from our sub conscious and reveal more about us than voices might. Technology is good for short notes, phones are great when you need to hear their voice but writing allows the author to muse, reflect, comment, share in an improvised, unprompted way that, for me, brings a deeper connection between people. And surprises too. I often read my blogg the next day & wonder who wrote it (smile emoticon) x

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