I write because I know my view of the world is unique.
And, I write because I know my presence on this planet is completely insignificant.
These two claims may strike you as oxymoronic, but I don’t see them that way. Besides, surprising wisdom can emerge when seemingly opposite ideas are held in close proximity.
Ever since I was a pigtailed, crayon-brandishing kindergartener, I suspected that I saw the world a little differently than did my peers. Over the years, this led to my pursuit of a variety of creative outlets – painting, photography, even metalwork – but writing has always been my most fluent transmission channel. I love the tools of my trade, these little squiggles on paper (or nowadays, computer screens) that, by virtue of their juxtaposition with other squiggles, can design worlds, inspire thoughts, and propel others into action. I am fascinated with the nuances these squiggles convey and the connotations that have stuck to them over time. I can wield words so that, in my better moments, they capture and contain the way I see reality. Words can, in turn, wield me, employing my flying fingers to communicate a thought I didn’t even know I had. Through this co-creative process, I can give the world a gift that is uniquely mine – a contribution that allows me to believe that my point of view matters to someone.
Because we all know it doesn’t.
As I write this, our human population is pushing seven and a half billion souls. If I didn’t already feel unimportant, this number would surely force me to admit that I am a mere speck on this big blue ball. There is little question that, without me, the world would go on. A few people might grieve my absence; but, in reality, the world might actually be a better place without the resource impact created by yet another car-driving, heat-using, food-eating American. If I spend too much time thinking about my global footprint or the overall meaninglessness of my time here, I get really depressed. Like, the “should I even bother to stick around?” kind of depressed. However, while the world might be better off without me from a resource perspective, it sure did go through a lot of chemical reactions and evolutionary advancements to create this body and brain. Out of sheer gratitude, I think I owe it to the universe to invent a good reason for staying here.
That’s where writing comes in.
When I open that channel between my mind and my fingertips, something flows through it. Call it creativity, call it insight, or call it life force – something is moving across the divide. It is moving in a way that only this combination of molecules – this one that happens to have green eyes and broad shoulders and a funny way of seeing sunlight waltzing on a wall – can convey.
Knowing that is enough to keep me hanging around — at least for now.