Writing is thinking. And more.
I walk carefully on a cold, pebble beach and realize something dreadful. By semi-conventional and personal standards, I have come across something undeserved in my life: success. I no longer have this rubber band tension to get things done. I am both relieved and disappointed.
One personal solution was writing. Writing helps in fulfillment and purpose, because it assists in being able to, make sense of your life, as Emily Esfahani Smith would say.
I looked around like my infant. I came across a lot of interesting pieces from unlikely places. One theme uncovered was that writing = thinking.
I was intimidated by those who had professional training and talent. I believed I ought to think it through more carefully. I needed great ideas.
Or did I? Some say ideas are worthless. Derek Sivers believes that ideas are simply multipliers, and that execution is worth millions.
I think; therefore I write. I don’t have any interesting thoughts. How do I write?
Modeling after my infant, I cry. It helps. I depend on clarification of my thoughts to write. But is anything in life that linear or logical? Could writing be something more emotional or something ok not to understand? That’s the way I feel about the human condition and suffering, both physical and mental.
I am aware of another common suffering in life: cancer. It is the presence of abnormal cells in your body. Sampling of cells is the first step in diagnosis. Tissue is the issue.
We must verify cellular deviance before we go to extremes. Cancer therapy is toxic: surgery, radiation, chemo, and hormonal treatments. Clarity is essential.
Logical, no? Not for all cancer. For the most common solid cancer in young men, we do not entertain a biopsy. We opt for immediate castration. If your kidneys appear abnormal enough on imaging, they will promptly be excavated. We execute quickly without the traditional, secure proof of tissue.
Slicing you open without conventional clarity seems reckless - yet, it saves lives. Writing is clarification of thinking. But it is also more. It is discovery (Beatrix Potter), connection (Maya Angelou and in her case absolute titanium discipline), imperfection (Margaret Atwood), a respiratory mechanism (Anais Nin), utter joy (Gloria Steinem), optimism (Micheal Cunningham), daring assertiveness (Jhumpa Lahiri), a medium (Sonke Ahrens), a tool (Bernard Malamud), an exorcism (Harper Lee), like giving birth (Toni Morrison), morality bending (Leo Tolstoy), incomprehensible (Nelson Agren), magical (John Gardner), supernatural (Haruki Murakami), and as Kurt Vonnegut would say, makes life more bearable.
Actions in clinical medicine involve risk. There is a certain amount of risk we can’t afford - which is being accomplice to your corpse. Either because a biopsy will cause complications like bleeding or worse create a path for suspected cancer to spread. It’s better to take action and murder organs right away.
That’s why I can’t wait any longer. I’d rather just start writing. Executing it repeatedly will lead to insight and maybe something more. Writing is thinking and also greater than it. I’m not going to risk my own death by fixating on perfection. I want to experience everything that comes with and beyond it.
I find a dry place along the rocks. No water, ocean or tears, for my notepad today.