Where is life?
Answers to unanswerable questions?
Where is sanity?
When did we (humans) lose the ability to know truth? I don’t know we ever owned this ability. Truth: the true or actual state of a matter. Have you ever been dissatisfied with words and their definitions?
The definition waters get muddied when you search out abstracts and concepts. Love can mean so many things. A zero score in tennis to strong affection for another. Yet the ultimate definition appears to fall individualistically to each human being. So many versions. My view of a sick version of love may be other peoples’ rapture.
Truth stands, as a word, an abstract concept which reaps many interpretations. Ultimate Truth, should you wish to pursue that line of definition, appears to have a multitude of definitions as well. Religions all tout their embodiment of truth. The zealots who go out proclaiming truth, their brand, believe fundamentally in what utters forth from their mouths. They live for truth. They die for truth.
Yet, the obvious conclusion remains that none own The Truth. The divisions within their own ranks belie the fact of flawed vision and understanding. I’ve heard conversations where various ownerships of truth get compared. Do the Buddhists possess more truth than Muslims or Christians? Spiritualists? What about all the splintered outtakes of those groups? The mind-boggling “truth” stands apparent – they don’t know.
Ok, off into the land of religion is not the point here. The point becomes quickly that “truth” lies in the eyes of the beholder. Oh, the screaming and gnashing of religion howls in the background of this statement. The atheists are no better. At first they would champion such a statement until it’s revealed they own no more truth than the world’s religions.
So what are we looking at here? Truth and love and many other concepts created by man with word labels hold nebulous definitions which 7.5 billion people cannot agree upon. Generally, you find relational allies, and people group together often and tout their supreme knowledge, yet I’ve never met the human being who wields the scepter of ultimate knowledge, truth, or love.
Many “claim” this knowledge, but I “know” they do not possess such a thing. How may I “know” this? Because my personal “truth” and “life” tells me so. Truth becomes a hope to so many. They “hope” they’re right. Deep down, they “hope” their answer is not strewn with folly. And good for them…at least for their lives and their perspectives. Personally, hoping in something not completely true lends itself to all sorts of questions and problems and frustrations for me.
I’m now steering away from religion. This does not mean I do not “believe” in things, but simply that religion only teaches conformity, rote repetition, and hollow chocolate bunny truths. They’re sweet to contemplate, but fall empty upon inspection. Religion, all of them, strive for conformity to doctrine rather than exploration. Rooted in bloody pasts, without definitive agreement in the present, they forge into the future with nothing.
Writing calls for an internal exploration of personal truth, love, hate, passion, desire, etc. The list of intangibles, conceptual thoughts, and abstracts runs off into what appears to be infinity. A writer must step forth with his/her “truth” at whatever moment in time they possess this nebulous thing.
One of my observations with respect to writing, or any creative endeavor for that matter, follows the thought that without a deep investment in the translation of personal concepts into letters, which form words, which attempt, however weakly, to capture truth in their symbol-driven lasso, will never own power without that indefinable “inner truth or passion” fueling the process. A writer must hold fast to something. A writer must cling to a belief strong enough to see to fruition their “hope” of grasping, and conveying, something of value.
What am I doing here? Wrestling with words to convey deep-seated reservations about what I observe teeming around me. This world collapses as quickly as it expands, with ideas, concepts, truths, passions, and a host of other wacky things bandied about in a frenetic dance toward oblivion. There appears no end to our fighting over concepts which we truly can never agree upon.
One of the fears of this writer roots itself in a patch of creative confusion, a chaos where the real possibility of mental collapse or dried up creativity could happen. A fear of not finding the muster to step back into the writing fray with anything but fluff. A realization that “my” truth remains specifically with me, and may but resonate with others, and possibly only a few.
I work with writers all the time who struggle to tell their story. I wonder at this, just as I wonder at my own struggles with the same situation. Wacky, huh? A coach/teacher who struggles with the very thing he coaches/teaches. The problem here runs the lines of “personal truth.”
My personal truth presents itself as a struggle to write what, deep down, I desire to express. So many filters clog the passageways to this inner depth. So many fears of backlash and so many questions as to the ‘worth’ or ‘value’ of my words on others. When I travel that mind-road, I’m doomed and I know it. When a writer worries about what others might think, say, or judge about their words, he/she is toast.
One of my favorite books, The Four Agreements, addresses on of my personal weaknesses. The Third Agreement is: “do not make assumptions.” My inner heart sings to the tune of this book and this third agreement. I identify my “assuming” what others will think, say or feel about my writing as a hindrance to my level of writing success.
As writers, I feel we need to place ourselves into vulnerability. We desire to impact others with out truths, our words, our concepts, our creations. What holds so many of us back I personally identify as the issue the Third Agreement addresses. We assume the worst.Most writers are like this. We live with emotional baggage.
Ok, so likely, most people live with emotional baggage. But writers work on expressing some form of their inner self which exposes portions of this inner turmoil. I began this writing with what was supposed to be the beginning of a poem. Second line, I make use the phrase “mind-numbing truth.”
I search myself for truth. I see confusion. I see turmoil. I see questions. I see a chaotic mess. But again, the words fail, because I just used the word “see” in the preceding sentences. This “seeing” goes much further than the word implies. I feel confusion. I feel turmoil. I feel questions. I feel a chaotic mess.
Again, the word falls short. I am confusion. I am turmoil. I am a question. I am a chaotic mess. I pat myself on the back that I can even admit this, yet in the overall scheme of things, even that caveat to myself is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
One of my issues as a writer shifts to this: I rebel against confusion. I rebel against turmoil. I rebel against the question. I rebel against the chaotic mess of my mind…and I shut down. Then, that magic moment when I do the following, at least I feel the connection to some remnant of truth, some aspect of knowledge. This happens when I embrace confusion, embrace turmoil, embrace the question, and especially when I embrace my chaotic self.
Writing your passion tends to be counter-intuitive, at least from my “personal truth” perspective. Embracing your baggage, diving into your weakness, reveling in your failing, spiraling-out-of-control-world- and-life-view, and giving yourself over to the words which flow your heart and soul, delivers the release you seek as a writer. Crazy thing is, next week, next month, next year, next decade, I may read these words and wish I’d held them close or I may wish I’d never uttered them through my fingertips.
If you’ve made it this far through this post, maybe I’m not as bonkers as I feel. Maybe there exist others who resonate with these abstract thoughts and feelings and motivations and desires. I learned, at least four years ago, that my writing struggles own kinship with many other writers. Of course, those fears of no one reading this far, having bailed out on the nutcase long ago means one of two things to me as a writer.
One: I’m a hack and should hang up my pencils, shake my head at my stupidity, and move on with my life. Am I the only writer who sometimes (maybe more often) crawls around on the dirty floor with these thoughts?
Two: I wrote this piece for me – my present and future self – a snapshot of where I’m at, where I’m headed, and noting a familiar, well-worn line in the sand, so I may perpetuate my heart’s desire to continue writing my words, which struggle to represent my truth to a world who will never completely agree with me, but at least some will hear they are not alone.
My belief, my truth, about writing, is that a writer should – even must – write for themselves first. By doing so, you may just help someone else who searches just like you…
Writing is sanity, by the way…