Why do I write?
I pondered this question once whilst admiring a friend’s beautiful embroidery.
Sewing, it seems, is a key ingredient to a well-balanced woman. Crochet for gifts, quilting for one’s family, mending and patchwork to hide the inevitable marks of childhood, stunning works of art captured in a swirl of thread – this is one skill that no self-respecting young lady should be without.
I am self-respecting. I am not, unfortunately, a seamstress.
Please know that this is not for lack of want or trying. In fact, I used to host rather grandiose visions of myself competently mending children’s clothes, stitching fun and creative home-warming items, making gorgeous gifts, and adding my own fashionable flair to any outfit.
The problem is that things are so much more plausible in my head – my mind’s eye is so much sharper than my needle-threading eye.
For some time, I sported an embroidered sewing kit, multiple spools of thread, 3 thimbles, a pair of mini scissors and the all-important “quick unpick”. Because there is also something to be said for NOT hand-sewing a garment to the skirt you are wearing at the time of said sewing – much unpicking required…
So I may not be too handy with a needle and thread, but surely I can wield some import in the kitchen? I’m a whole half-Italian for goodness’ sake!! Buon Appetito, si?
The problem is that things are so much more plausible in my head – I too easily get trapped inside that head, with my imagination cooking up a storm, but sadly failing in the context of the storm that is actually brewing inside my neglected cooking pots.
I have been told that if I stopped stirring ideas and started stirring pots, I may not burn quite so many a promising dish.
Some of the lessons I have learned, always the hard way, are as follows:
– turning on the oven goes a long way towards cooking a meal
– stirring the rich homemade pasta sauce too vigorously can give it the tendency to leap out of its confining pot
– a little cornflour and water can fix anything
– a little cornflour and water cannot fix anything
– it is never a good idea to toast the cord of the toasted sandwich maker inside your sandwich. Especially if it is not your toasted sandwich maker, or even your kitchen.
Sadly, it seems that all Nigella Lawson and I have in common is our firm belief that “Whitakers’ 5-Roll Refined Creamy Milk Chocolate” is indeed the best kitchen paraphernalium ever invented.
So, back to my original pondering – why do I WRITE?
I must note here that I do not write because I can’t cook. Or because I can’t sew. I can do both (‘Struth! Would I lie to you?!). It just takes a more concentrated effort, and the strength of will to be present in the here and now.
No, writing is not an effort to prove something.
So, why DO I write?
I came across this recurring question not too long ago in a book about, of course, writing, and tried in vain to think of some sparkling, witty reply. Some profound sentence that would capture the inspiration and beauty and power of the written word, in a perfectly crafted sentence with cadence and flow.
But not having a pen in my hand severely impedes my thought process, and it took me some time to stumble across part of the answer, knowing that the whole answer is still a mystery that I chip away at every time I pick up my pen…
Why do I write?
Because there’s something profoundly inspiring about the light strength of a pen, the quiet anticipation of a blank page awaiting my next move. True, most of the time I am not quite sure what that next move will be – but the magnet of the written word, the flow of words from heart to page is unstoppable.
I write when I am happy, when I am sad, when I am angry at injustice or delighting in goodness, when I know uncertainty, when I know fear, when I don’t know anything except to write.
I write for the joy of seeing pen and paper kiss.
I write for the peace of my soul, knowing it needs this outlet of expression. I write for the pure delight of others. I write for the wonder of shared words that heal, bless, provoke, inspire, love.
I write because I cannot NOT write.
What is something that you do, for no other reason than the fact that you do? What greens you? Shines you? Reminds you that YOU are YOU?
If it’s sewing, please know that no needles or threads were harmed in the making of this pondering.
If it’s cooking, please know that I am currently rostered to cook only once a week, so that our pots are given 6 days of rest.
© Emma McGeorge 2013