All art forms are for two: the audience, and the artist. As the artist, one seeks to create something that will move the audience, teach them, humor them, or simply make them think about a topic in a new way. At the same time there is the aspect of creation that is solely for the artist, for their own self-improvement and sustainment. When I write, I write for others. Simultaneously I am always writing for myself–writing to heal the wounds inside.
My first book, published this April, is entitled Soon I’ll Be from the Soil Someday: Essays on Plants and Loss. I wrote it after I lost two grandparents in quick succession, and then stumbled my way into a job at a garden center. I wrote it because I was grieving, and healing, and I knew writing would be how I moved through it all.
When a writer puts pen to paper it is an act of love to oneself. It is intentional. It is saying: I choose this moment in time, to sit and think and be and to honor the thoughts and sensations that course through me. There is a tenderness to recording one’s ideas in this manner, taking the words that swim through us, sticking them to a page.
When I stumble into writer’s block, I return to this notion. I do not have to write the most beautiful essay in the world for my words to matter. I do not have to write something that is touching to anyone else. I do not have to try to make my writing anything other than an exercise in soothing my own mind.
Currently so much revolves around how we can make money, find success, and creativity is often stifled as a result. It is therefore radical to step away from that idea, even momentarily, and say: today I create, I write, for the beauty of it, for the love of it, for the love of myself. Today I write because I can, and because doing so always has the power to heal.