This morning, I finished reading Barbara Ueland’s beautiful book If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence, and Spirit, and I feel reminded of the purpose behind all this writing that I do and that I hope to encourage my students to do. Ueland says:

Why should we use all our creative power and write or paint or play music, or whatever it tells us to do? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money. Because the best way to know the Truth or Beauty is to try to express it. And what is the purpose of existence Here or Yonder but to discover truth and beauty and express it, i.e., share it with others?

The intellectual part of me, the part of me that is mostly mind and that takes over my life far too often knows this to be true, but at a deeper part of myself that is wrapped beneath layers of bravado and self-protection, I feel this to be true. I feel myself become softer and more open, more loving, more kind when I write. When I don’t write, I feel twisted and gross, and I find myself grasping for control of things because I feel I have so little that is right or good in my life – somehow if I control things I can make them good (how foolish!).

So this week, when my writing practice has continued but has been curtailed a bit by fatigue and busyness (always with the busyness), I feel a little twisted, a little stretched, a little wayward, a little frantic. I know I need to write; I know that my students need me to write. I know I need to heed Ueland’s words – I will try.

Cover of If You Want to Write by Barbara UelandIf You Want to Write by Barbara Ueland