The world doesn’t fully make sense until the writer has secured his version of it on the page.
~ from The Forest for the Trees, by Betsy Lerner
There it is, my reason for writing. So much of what I scratch down on paper stays hidden within the pages of my journals, becomes buried in early drafts, or gets lost in multiple files of stories. I could beat myself up about wasted paper and ink, or hot air, that pours out before anything good comes to fruition, but all that writing is of value.
Put numbers to it, and I can see writing and math in a similar light. Your formula begins with a mess of numbers, all splayed out on the chalkboard. The numbers are figured and re-configured, compared and cancelled out until, finally, down in the corner of the board, just before you run out of space, the numbers fall into place. The answer becomes clear, so you circle it. Twice. Because man, it feels good when you get to the end of the problem.
We write to make sense of our world. And, as Pam Parker says in an essay she wrote this week, everything we do, feel, learn, shoulder – whether we like it or not – works its way from the folds of our minds into the details on the page. Sometimes those experiences fall as a whole onto the paper, sometimes they appear in bits and pieces.
The same could be said for any artist, whether he matches colors with emotion or sets the lighting in a photograph or smooths pieces of clay into place. However it happens (in whatever form) when something new is created, another view of the world comes into focus.
Why do you write or paint or create?
* Photo credit: liza31337 on Flickr.com