You know, I arrived at a minor epiphany just now. We do write what we know. At least, we write what we think or hope we know. Especially when we get fired up by our muse. We believe we own insight. We believe we have the mechanisms to deliver a story. We believe we know what we’re saying, how we’re saying it, and that the words, however impossible, assemble to bring meaning into our narrative whether that be fiction or nonfiction.
Now truth, yes, that horrendous bugaboo which haunts us incessantly, that’s a different story. As soon as I whip out the “truth” word, the question immediately begs, “whose truth?”
All we have to go on is our ability to deliver the concepts in symbols which represent letters which form words, sentences, paragraphs, stories. Our most major failing, or issue, remains that the concepts we most struggle to convey cannot truly be covered by these black markings on a page. The nuance of what is not said, or often more appropriately, cannot be written or stated, is where we truly mine the wealth of writing.
Each of us live and experience similar scenarios in life. Love. Death. Pain. Joy. Questioning our existence. Questioning our purpose. Laughter. Yet each of us possesses a slightly, or drastically different view or “take away” from these scenarios. My feelings are not yours. We aim at the similarities so we may get “agreement” with our words, but truly exact matches stand as totally impossible. This is precisely why I say to “write your personal truth into everything without apology and without watering it down.”
What all of us look for is the “between the lines” stuff anyway. We read ‘similar’ experiences and we overlay our life and inject our perceptions, not the author’s. A brilliant idea springs to our mind/heart/soul and we desire to express this brilliance and have it accepted by others. It does not matter whether we’re looking to entertain or inform. What matters is that conceptually, we connect.
All of us seek connection in life, or we give up trying. The crazy thing is, since we’re all individually unique, perfect connection is impossible. We feel inadequate, unfinished, unwhole. We search for answers in deities, love, hate, violence, compassion, etc. The list is extensive. We’ve been beating our collective heads on this wall for our entire history. Writers wrestle with this. Painters. Sculptors. Creativity. We seek connection and completion. We’re driven.
The depressive aspect of this is that with each new creation, we’re not there. We may be “fortunate” and connect with the masses and rake in millions. But the disconnect remains. We may languish in obscurity, often with “better” material than the fortunate few who strike it rich, yet we all end up in the same boat. Isn’t that depressing? Frustrating? Demotivational?
So. Do we give up? Many, do. I believe most give up at some point. What about the dogged ones. Those of us who refuse. Those of us who strive against that long goodnight.
There’s a “self-justification” aspect to writing. We think if we can write the great American novel or the next Harry Potter or the deepest of all poetry which strikes a chord with the masses that we will somehow achieve “connection.” I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I’m simply recognizing the intent behind the futility. What is left for us?
A wise gentleman whom I did not appreciate enough while he lived would often admonish anyone who would listen to “self-actualize.” He remained passionately involved with this concept of life up to the day he died. He would speak self-actualization to anyone who would listen and even those who didn’t. More and more, I come to agree with his adamance at this being a key. To what? What the hell is “self-actualization” anyway?
Part of the answer to that question, in my book of thoughts, is that writing can facilitate a formulation of self. Writing truth, YOUR personal truth as you see it, feel it, understand it, and realize it can comprise steps in self-actualization. Here’s a little minor definition: Self-actualization is a term that has been used in various psychology theories, often in slightly different ways. The term was originally introduced by the organismic theorist Kurt Goldstein for the motive to realize one’s full potential. Expressing one’s creativity, quest for spiritual enlightenment, pursuit of knowledge, and the desire to give to and/or positively transform society are examples of self-actualization. In Goldstein’s view, it is the organism’s master motive, the only real motive: “the tendency to actualize itself as fully as possible is the basic drive… the drive of self-actualization.
We desire to reach our potentials. We do not want to be left on the sidelines of life, wasting away our time until we die. Ok, many appear to do just that. Ok, most… But, we who do wish to engage our lives to their fullest extent rise up through all the crap and dig for our very own personal essence. Our answers. Our truest potential. We desire to “actualize” ourselves.
This post was not intended to be specifically written about self-actualization. Hell, I don’t know nearly enough about the term to write as an expert. What I can indeed write about is our striving to find the grail, the maximization of potential. I know my potential, on the whole, has been locked down most of my life. Too many excuses for why I don’t pursue them with more vigor twenty-four hours a day. But isn’t that what I write about most? Isn’t this concept of self-actualization key in motivation to pursue our highest potential.
We should pursue our truths. We should get off the blame game and all the crap our media and corporations and governments are throwing into our brains and find the answers within which we seek. Those resorting to hate and violence and apathy have all given up. They want to identify an external person or group to blame for the troubles of the world. They do not seek answers. Writers, we may pursue higher purposes. We may actually accomplish something for the human race to carry forward. In order to do so, we need to maximize our potential.
When you’re driven to write, do not resist. Go with it. Even if what you write today makes no sense tomorrow (which this post may well qualify as that type of writing), get it out of your system and grow yourself. Find yourself. Potential is a terrible thing to waste and we all do it every single day. Get up. Self-actualize your life. Embrace this journey. Make your life count.