Writing as practice (or blogging as therapy)
13 March 2006 2 Comments
Due to a severe lack of funds, I’ve had to discontinue sessions with my therapist (more on mindfulness practice and therapy another day), but the fact that I’m blogging it rather than resenting the state of affairs is a huge change for me. Obviously blogging is not the same as sitting in a room with a human being, but that the internet has been described as a ‘conversation’ is a reasonable substitute for the time being.
Writing this blog, as opposed to writing academic papers, has caused me to acknowledge what I’ve known but never admitted — I write, therefore I am. Pardonnez-moi, M. Descartes. Thinking just isn’t enough for me — thinking is often obfuscating, frustrating, even debilitating. Writing, though, paired with a decent meditation practice, offers my wayward mind a chance to organise and articulate thoughts I don’t even know exist. In Harry-Potter-speak, it’s my very own Pensieve, a vessel to dump excess thoughts in for perusal at a later stage.
And writing about writing now is already bringing me back to old memories I’d neglected. One is of a book I’d discovered about three or four years ago called, One Common Mistake by Gail Sher, Zen Buddhist, psychotherapist, writer and teacher. In the book, she offers ‘Four Noble Truths for Writers’ and they are:
- Writers write
- Writing is a process
- You don’t know what your writing will be until the end of the process
- If writing is your practice, the only way to fail is not to write
So, time to make peace with my sixth house Sun, Mercury and Saturn in Gemini and get all the mental post-it notes in order. I’ll finish with another dusty memory I’d buried with my Masters thesis six years ago. Good old Roland Barthes, so inspiring when I was in intellectual diapers, but too quickly discarded for the colourful bloomers of other post-ism theorists. None, though, has captured the transience of writing with such poetry:
[W]riting is the destruction of every voice, of every point of origin. Writing is the neutral, composite, oblique space where our subject slips away, the negative where all identity is lost, starting with the very identity of the body writing. (‘The Death of the Author’, 1968)
Writing, it seems, may be the beginning of unwriting the I.
Sher, Gail. One Common Mistake: Four Noble Truths for Writers. New York: Penguin Arkana, 1999.
Barthes, Roland. ‘The Death of the Author’ (1968). Image-Music-Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Hill and Wang, 1977. 142-48.