I am a feeling person.
Sometimes my emotions bubble up inside me so much that they spill out my mouth and well up in the backs of my eyes. Sometimes they flow out of my fingertips and onto a page in a beautiful mess of words before an overwhelming calm seduces me into a sense of wholeness and I rest until the next urge floods my conscience.
I (finally) had time to read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott this week for Intermediate Writing. This afternoon I decided to go to one of my favorite places on campus to relax and read. I was perched in the best climbing tree in Peace Park, straddling one of the fattest branches and leaning against the trunk. I got lost in words in time and space as an early-autumn breeze gently tousled my unwashed hair. The overwhelming sense of serenity overcame my anxiety about classes and work.
“… sometimes when my writer friends are working, they feel better and more alive than they do at any other time. And sometimes when they are writing well, they feel that they are living up to something. It is as if the right words, the true words, are already inside them, and they just want to help them get out. Writing this way is a little like milking a cow: the milk is so rich and delicious, and the cow is so glad you did it.”
I’m not going to pretend that everything I write “rich and delicious;” I’m not going to pretend that I’m capable of writing the next Farewell to Arms or Wuthering Heights, but I will say that by ability to “milk my emotional cow” with words affirms my belief in myself as a writer — simply because I can’t counteract my overactive brain any other way.
Those who care about me constantly tell me, “Katie, your heart is too big.” To some extent it’s true. I am deeply affected if I hear or witness an injustice, and when I care about something, I cannot let it rest without coming to some internal peace. Words give me the space to sort out my bleeding heart and contain my feelings when I’m spending too much time or money dwelling on a problem I have not caused and will never solve.
When I am writing well, I feel fulfilled. Those thoughts and problems seep from my brain through my every pore in multitudes of rhythmic words. Though it may be fleeting, the peace is enough to keep me satisfied until the next moment when I need the words to help me through.