Writing as practice. Ten minutes: Go!
Even as I think about writing practice, I feel an excited burning sensation in the pit of my stomach. Writing is important to me. It is all about self expression. Getting out words that I find so difficult to say in person. It reminds me how I really am uncomfortable speaking on the phone. At every turn in the conversation, especially when t is my turn, I feel an urge to say, "Well, it was nice speaking with you. Goodbye." But still I continue the conversation struggling to find words to describe how I am. For I am never sure that anyone is really interested in how I am. Writing practice allows me to speak freely and not worry if anyone is interested in me. Of course, I am delighted when people stop by to read the blog, or anything else I write - like books, papers, or articles. I certainly enjoy acknowledgement. There is no doubt about that. And who doesn't like a bit of attention from time to time? But, the act of writing is something that is just for me and me alone. I am able to speak my mind, discover memories, and share thoughts, that I might not have ready access to when talking face to face with people. Especially people I care about and whose opinion I value. So, while practicing writing can sometimes seem like a chore, it is also always a little exciting for me. My mind goes blank for a moment but the clock is still ticking. I think a little too hard instead of allowing the thoughts to flow through my fingertips for these ten minutes of non-stop writing practice. No need to edit right now. I can do that later. Just let the mind cough it up. All of it. Practice, practice, practice. That's the way I learn to perfect my art. There are months that I travel and present non-stop and by the third or fourth speech I have it down pat. I am able to discover words and even jokes with ease, and the attendees seem to flow with me in the room. I gave up practicing the piano when I moved to America twenty five years ago. I gave up a lot of things back then. Cooking. Not that I was ever a great cook. Singing. I gave up all housewifely-type things except for, perhaps cleaning, and even that I don't do so much any more. Was I never the housewife type? And yet I struggled so hard to perfect that, and always felt I came up short. Academia seemed to fit with me. Activities of the mind are important for me. But then so is spirituality. Or is it philosophy? I would rather spend time thinking about thoughts, ideas, or discovering the subconscious workings of my mind, than cooking or cleaning - or even baking a cake. I used to bake wonderful cakes. Coffee cream with meringue atop a really light, flaky pastry shell. It was always a success and people would applaud me when I brought it out. Cooking was a way I gave my young child love - no question about it. I remember the day I caught him making his own sandwich to take to school. I was mortified. What? He did not need my love any longer? The whole day I dragged myself around work feeling like there was a vacuous hole in my soul, that the lights had gone out, and that my life no longer had meaning. By evening I realized it was because my son could make his own sandwich, his own food. The need to give love through the culinary life fell away. I would have to find a different way to give of myself. And I began to write.