Writing has always been my instrument of clarity. In the darkest times when my thoughts felt like they had a will all their own, I could still sit down and bust out pages that made sense. I write for me. This grounding practice of putting words on a page does not need to go viral, "going viral" always sounding rather ominous anyway. It only needs to bring me home to myself.
This year has sent me deep sea diving into my soul for answers. The questions bubbling up about my life are not from anyone else. There is no pressure, no attention and no persistent need to explain my choices.
When I moved from my apartment of five years in Chelsea to the UES, I packed all my books. I made room in my smaller studio for these words on paper, and decided to take one out of the archives and onto the subway for my new, longer commute. It was a collection of essays by Montaigne. I have not touched that book in over ten years but this week I read three, including ON FRIENDSHIP, which draws comparisons between friendship love and the love shared between partners in marriage.
Yesterday, I saw my dad and he told me I MUST read David Brooks's October 7th NYT Op Ed called 'Intimacy for the Avoidant'. Ok, dad, I will check it out because you do know what I like to read. This piece was about the "profoundly unsatisfying" addiction we have to social media. It is a call to action, really, an invitation to say no to "a thousand shallow contacts for the sake of a few daring plunges".
While I can relate to this and am on Team Brooks, what struck me most is that he quoted Montaigne in the Op Ed about friendship. He writes:
When Montaigne was describing the accumulating intimacy he enjoyed with his best friend, he described an emotional interaction that was full and progressive: “It was not one special consideration, nor two, nor three, nor four, nor a thousand; it was some mysterious quintessence of all this mixture which possessed itself of my will and led it to plunge and lose itself in his; which possessed his whole will and led it, with a similar hunger, and a like impulse, to plunge and lose itself in mine.”
These little connections are more than happenstance or coincidences. I have not touched that book in years. David Brooks does not oft quote Montaigne. My dad does not point me to too many articles these days - I can't remember his last suggestion.
I don't even know what it all means. I just know that I feel so powerfully that my love of words is finding its way into the world again. My passion as a writer is unlimited. I can sit and do it for hours, despite what it does to frustrate my desire for perfection. I love other writers even as I also feel unworthy in their presence. I see myself in the words that come out on the page -- they unmask me to myself, and often to you, my reader.
Whatever you find in your day that reveals more of yourself to you, I hope you do more. You are worthy of being seen.