Sometimes, when I sit down at the computer and start typing or when I wake up in the middle of the night to scribble something down on the notepad that is always next to my pillow, I’m amazed at the fact that I write.
And I mean that on every level. The very act of being able to put down on paper these funny strokes – some curly, some angled – and make sense out of them is one of the most fascinating things I have ever come across. That I have managed as a person to memorise so many combinations (and still add to them when I’m inspired) and that they actually provoke images and ideas in my head makes me go *wow*
I think verbs and adjectives tend to tingle my spine more than nouns do. A tree is an image you visualise in your head and it’s also something you can walk out and have a good word-association look at. But descriptive words – those are another lot altogether, aren’t they?
Does magnificent touch the same nerves in your soul as it does in mine? What about tantalizing? Do you get flabbergasted by the same things I do? When do you consider something as shimmering and when does it glitter? What lengths will you go to sacrifice something for someone and what depths of your heart do you reach into when you adore a person?
Much as we use these words to suggest certain emotional situations, I think at some level what a writer feels when they write a passage and what the reader senses from the same are very, very different.
Sure, once in a while you get those magic combinations where a certain quote or paragraph or even entire story seems to grab almost everyone in the same place and at the same intensity. Those are the works of the ‘great writers’.
I don’t know how they achieve it, but I like to think that it’s because they go deeper within than other writers. So deep that they break down through the structure of their personal character and bias and reach into that essential spirit that is within all things human. They go past the distinctions and find the similarities that all people share – a soul.
And the voice of the soul is so pure and so connected to God that when one speaks, can others do anything but listen? Yet not all writers seem able to hold onto this voice all the time. Some of their books are great, some are not. So many of them cannot handle the process of bringing up these pearls from their inner depths and their psyches get worn out in the exercise.
Psychologists suggest that literary geniuses are made that way. They must suffer to find the right words and their suffering destroys them, but because they are writers, they are compelled to undertake the hunt anyway. A cycle of self-destruction.
I don’t believe that. Yes, the process of learning to listen to the soul is a hard one, but I think if you follow the right channels and prepare yourself for the experience then it makes you a stronger writer and a stronger person.
Once you begin to hear the true voice of the soul, then hearing the Voice of God is only a whisper away. And how can anything Divine be destructive?
“Words, when written, crystallise history; their very structure gives permanence to the unchangeable past.”
– Francis Bacon (1561-1626)