30 July 2010

Why We Write

Despite my obvious love for food and the frequency of my time spent cooking, I am even more passionate about writing.  There is something about language that has the ability to fully engage my interest, perhaps because it is an infinitely varied realm that caters so well to my overly analytical mind.  I can cook well enough even when I am holed in a creative rut.  In contrast, writing even a decent sentence usually requires a certain uninterrupted flow of creative energy; to be at what I consider my linguistic best, I have to be "in the zone."

The reason I now share this topic on a food-centric blog is because for me, this is a forum for me to combine my interests in cooking and writing in an enjoyable way.  (I apologize for the tangential nature of what follows, as well as its seeming self-centered perspective; this is what I know and to what I most firmly relate.)  I by no means consider myself a writer in any professional sense--I'm just a gal with a mind constantly swarming with words, who also has a pet peeve for poorly executed grammar--and frankly, I wonder sometimes about the limitations of language as a means to properly represent the unspoken or indescribable emotions, cognitions, and other neural phenomena that sometimes make psychology students such as myself a little giddy at their mention.  I haven't studied linguistics or English to any remarkable extent, and although I enjoy literature and reading via any medium, I suspect any truly avid bibliophile would never consider me a well-read individual.  But in a sense, even when I am not physically typing or writing out words for a this blog, short story, or letter, I feel that I am constantly writing.  My mind is consistently a-buzz with potential lyrics for a song being formed and rearranged, old-fashioned letters for faraway friends, journal entries, alliterative catch-phrases to be used at random, and other wordy bits and pieces created from memories and imaginative projections.

Yesterday, NPR posted a discussion of what motivates writers to write.  Because many readers of this blog are authors of their own blogs, if not at least individuals inclined to read symbols sprawled across a screen, this seemed a relevant topic to share here.  While my nit-picking instinct first dissects what the term "writer" actually encompasses--I've settled with the conclusion that it is yet another broad label open to interpretation--I have also been urged to think of what purpose writing actually serves.  For me, an individual who cannot verbally express herself without a fair share the type of awkwardness inevitable in ad-libbed situations, on a practical level, writing is a suitable, methodical supplement to speaking with regard to manifesting what occurs in my restless mind.  As a means of mental decluttering, writing is, in essence, a form of therapy, a way to rescue my sanity.  There is little or no pressure to abide by time constraints in leisurely, written discourse, which allows for the type of neurotic editing and re-editing that always accompanies my endless search for words to most closely capture whatever it is I mean to say.  (This is what I mean by constantly acknowledging the inadequacy of language to truly represent thought.  True, there is no way to resolve that quandary, and in any case, the point of labeling is to conveniently categorize items in a vague way...which leads to even more abstraction, so I'll let the stream-of-consciousness end there.)

Aside from the practical reasons for writing (versus relying solely on verbal exchange), I think the most prominent reason I have for continuing to write goes back to that love of words.  Language, even with its imperfections, is a richly nuanced representation of all manners of human experience; it is rife with social, psychological, cultural, and historical implications.  And it is a viable mode of illustrating and sharing one's innermost thoughts and imagination for others to read and interpret to their hearts' delight.  Even recounting a cooking experiment--the majority of anecdotal material found here--requires a certain degree of creativity, knowledge, and access to an individual's chosen vernacular for preserving personal experiences.  This blog is a way for this shy young woman to share her cooking successes and mishaps with virtual strangers and open a part of herself to the vast unknown of the blogosphere.  (I am prone to romanticizing, so blogging, composing fiction, and journaling are safe outlets for that tendency.)  When I begin to compose a short story, I can draw from my own experiences and memories, reinvent them as something more interesting, and gussy them up with elaborate phrases, hopefully in a coherent form.  Writing in any sense shows that we have imaginations, that we are willing to engage with those around us, that we have things we feel we need or should say.  And in a way, I write because I am those words.

On a related note, it seems fitting to thank my readers for following along.  So thank you.  I really do appreciate that others are willing to devote time and attention to absorbing my humble musings, however I might ramble. :)

6 comments:

  1. Wonderful post, Tiffany! Thank you so much for sharing. i know exactly how you feel. I actually majored in English Writing many, many years ago, and writing is still very important to me...blogging gives us an audience, an audience primarily of like-minded people...I agree that it's a wonderful outlet for another side of our creativity.

    Thank you again for sharing your words and your food, Tiffany. Keep on doing what you're doing--I'll keep reading. :)

    xoxo,
    LJ

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  2. Blogger appears to be acting up this afternoon. If this is a duplicate please delete. ;-)

    I think there are as many reasons to write as there are writers. My blog started as a way to share recipes and appears to be morphing into recipes and a peak into my healthy life. I will freely admit that I spend little time editting my blog. I type as thoughts enter my mind. I envy your love of language. ;-)

    Ali

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  3. Thank you for the thoughts! I'd like to add that it's refreshing for me to have a handful of well-written blogs on my list.

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  4. Thanks, everyone. :) You're all so thoughtful, I really do appreciate the kindness.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, everyone. :) You're all so thoughtful, I really do appreciate the kindness.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Blogger appears to be acting up this afternoon. If this is a duplicate please delete. ;-)

    I think there are as many reasons to write as there are writers. My blog started as a way to share recipes and appears to be morphing into recipes and a peak into my healthy life. I will freely admit that I spend little time editting my blog. I type as thoughts enter my mind. I envy your love of language. ;-)

    Ali

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome and appreciated. :)