The Writer's Magical Imperative

I write to create a world that I want to live in.

It wasn’t always obvious that writing was an alchemical act, I just knew something happened when I put words on a page.

As a nine year old, I received my first diary and the initial passage read simply. “Dear Diary, today is my birthday I am 9.” The words are unremarkable, yet when I go back and read them today, I notice my rough printing in orange pencil later gone over with blue ink pen to preserve the words. They halt and stalk over the page, youth pouring out of every hooked “j” and squiggly ‘l’. This surprises me. I remember feeling so advanced, so fluent as I wrote the events of the day.

Words are Magic. The act of writing brings stories to life that would never breathe air if left in the imagination. Humans on the moon. Machines that can think. A world without war.

In the first two examples, books preceded the actualization. People have always been dreamers and writers are a conduit for carrying the impossible into reality. This is why I listed the third example.

I recently came across a children’s book based on Inuit legend called “Magic Words”. The story goes that there was a time when people, animals and the natural world were interchangeable. By using specific words, a human could become an animal and an animal, human. People had to be aware of their language because the results were real.

This excites me. In a world where people use words to sell everything from hairspray to Ebola, I write to generate inspiration and wonder. I write to pull humanity together.

Writers have always been readers as well. In my life, the more I read, the more inspired I become. Connection after connection begins to emerge until I’m certain that peace is ready to burst onto the global stage at any moment. It’s not naïve for me to say this, it’s creative.

There are branches of Yoga that deal specifically with language and sound. Shabda yoga is a practice that focuses on the intentional use of language as a tool of creation. This lineage is thousands of years old and believes that the words we utter become the realities we experience. As a writer with spiritual tendencies, I can relate. I want to be confident that the myths and memes I spin uplift instead of degrade.

Ultimately, the words we write come home to roost. With technology that allows us to capture the sounds, syllables and flavors of language, the things we write take on a life of their own after they leave our desktops. Hence, when I sit down to write an essay or novel, I ask myself, “What kind of world am I creating? Is this one I would want to live in? Does it speak of things that inspire or educate or merely entertain?”

I’ve written a lot about growing up in a fundamental religious environment and the effect it had on me. Some of the stories feel pretty dark and I wonder if I should spend time writing about the hard stuff when I want to enhance the light.

We all have our hero’s journey to walk-facing our dragons and climbing our mountains so we can grow. I know that I often read so I don’t feel alone on my personal path of evolution and I write because I want others to feel supported too.

I am a huge dreamer and often, a disillusioned idealist. Writing is the magic wand I wield to combat a sense of chaos that pervades human interactions with the world. Words unravel the confusion and create harmony. They expel demons and usher in angels, even when I write about abortions and panic attacks. Words send out sound waves that calm angry seas and remind me that humanity sees the same oceans and breathes the same air.

So I take writing seriously, even when people smile into their shoulders and ask if I get paid for what I do. Money does not legitimize magic, in the wrong hands, it can be a weapon for hire. Hence, the writer’s imperative. You have a power. Use it wisely.


                                                                                                                                        

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