Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Writing as a spiritual and political act

For the last few years or so, I’ve been living from a stronger sense of mission. Or perhaps it’s easier to say that I’ve become conscious of my mission in life, or one of them anyway. Uncovering and developing my creative self, both as painter and writer, have been really critical pieces to my recovery from alcoholism. And they have contributed immeasurably to a different and healthier sense of self. But I’ve also come to see that writing and painting and collaging and knitting and gardening and cooking and everything we do that is an expression of our creative selves is part of a force for good, maybe even Good with a capital G.

There is a tremendous amount of destructive energy afoot in our world. There’s the obvious: wars, so many of them; domestic violence; torture of those imprisoned; brutal treatment of animals, wild and domestic; not to mention the rape of the land through logging and overfishing and pollution. I could go on and on.

But I’ve come to believe that one small and powerful way to mitigate the effects of so much destructive energy is to ramp up our positive creative energies: to paint more often, to write more poetry, to dance and sing around the house. To arrange flowers with an eye to their color and beauty, to savor and record in the mind’s eye a blossom, the shine on a hummingbird’s throat, the spectacular rosiness of a Northwest winter sunrise. To make amends to a friend we’ve hurt, to write a letter to a teacher who encouraged us in our youth.

So next time you feel the urge to write a story or work on that screenplay, do it. It has a higher purpose.

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