Due to a lack of “inspiration,” I have been putting off writing another blog post. This reluctance to put structure and words to my thoughts, however, got me thinking: do I feel the need to be overwhelmed by emotion or strong opinions in order to write (and to write powerfully)? Well, yes, I suppose I do, partly. Do I agree with myself? No. If I only wrote any time I felt extreme pain, lust, sorrow or anger, I probably wouldn’t be writing as often as I would like to.
This question I have posed to myself also stems from my recent trip down teenage memory lane. In reading my old high school journals, I found pretty much every single entry to be an explosion of feeling, be it desire, betrayal, hurt, or dramatic musings about my own existence and the world. While I view most of these entries as amusing teenage hogwash, several of them have me feeling jealous of my old self. The passion and the quick-wittedness (especially within a few humourously juvenile entries of revenge against a former love) have me yearning to be able to write like that again. To feel that kind of confident clarity in my views on the world, and then to be able to pound it out with such bold, brassy and unabashed certainty and surprising wisdom.
The ultimate question I want to propose, then, is must one suffer to make (good) art? I have found over the past few years that I have only been spurred on to make diary entries or to write poetry when I have been taken by a strong emotion. These entries in particular I find to be the most stimulating and acutely written. Now, I wonder if this is a reflection on the type of writing I’m into, or a reflection on the idea that one must experience pain in order to produce powerful creative work? Or, because I have typically written when I am struck by feeling, am I just blocking my potential to write as a neutral, calm being?
I’m not looking to answer these questions immediately. In fact, they may very well be some of those ponderings that go on the list of neverending ideas up for debate. What I would like to do is to challenge myself to write even when I am feeling rather dull and obtuse. Writing, to me, is a method of discovery. It is a way in which to suss out one’s thoughts, and, in turn, to learn more about oneself along the way. By forcing myself to write, especially when I am most reluctant to, I hope that I will always find something useful and insightful came out of it.
So far, strike me up a point on the scoreboard.