Saturday, June 13, 2015

On Writing, Courage and Solitude

While visiting relatives in Michigan, I'm happy to learn that there is a serene pond right outside of the complex. Writing by this pond would be my daily ritual if I lived here. Its so still and peaceful at this time. The lake is clear and reflective with only some green algae spotting the view. The ducks play and seem to go about their own business with a particular ease, though one territorial geese hissed at me as I walked by it and its family. There's a little island in the middle of the pond which helps create the feeling of solitude.This could be Walden and I could be Henry David Thoeau. I love that his idea of living life deeply and sucking the marrow out of life is to go to the forest and be by oneself.

To write is a great and brave endeavor. Do not underestimate the courage it takes to sit in solitude and speak the truth, creating universes as a God would, or fight for what one believes in with the mighty use of a pen. The pen and the keyboard can create great cultural shifts and social awareness as did Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin"; predict the future as Jules Verne has done with his science fiction; open the eyes of a generation as Steven Hawking has done with his, "A Brief History of Time"; or overthrow governments as Thomas Paine did with his pamphlet, "Common Sense."

At a time in history where everyone is connected to the web and needs constant attention, it takes courage to find the solitude it takes to create--not to just say, "I will create--" but to actually create something original, something worthy of all the karmic experiences we as individuals have accumulated. It takes courage to have a voice, whether its an inspiring spiritual work, a universe creating peace of fiction, a social commentary or a work of taboo exploration that society would rather we censor. We are speaking our truth and what is alive within us.

It takes courage to read as well. To read something all the way through takes depth and reflection. You have to dive deep and experience someone else's point of view. Its not just a passing glance or an acknowledgement. Its an adventure, and it starts here, with me sitting alone but not feeling lonely. To write, one must be okay with that and even seek it out. And once we do learn to still our  minds and appreciate the little things we never noticed before, all the power of the creative self starts pouring through, a mighty gift to the world.

"The root of the word courage is cor - the Latin word for heart.In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant 'To speak one's mind by telling all one's heart.' Over time, this definition has changed and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strengtha nd level of commitment requjired for us to actually speak honestly and opely abotu who we are and about our experiences--good and bad. S[eaking from our hearts is what I think of as 'ordinary courage'" --Brene Brown


  1. I think that most who endeavor to find solitude are the one's who know the truth about life, not in its entirety mind you, but the part that most are missing. The fact that these souls are looked upon with disdain by some, the lunatic fringe by others, and a few who wish they were brave enough to do so is a statement of the times we live in. It is all too easy to become enamoured of the 'hard-wired' society.

    I was up until 3 am this morning reading. An old sport that I have not done enough of in the past few years, but one that I enjoy immensely. The author had me so enthralled that I missed a morning sunrise shoot I had planned. There is something about the tactile feeling of holding a book between one's hands and turning the pages that I will never get from a screen. And of course, the exotic smell of the paper, something that I believe will not be with us much longer.

    I did not know the origin of the word courage but somehow always felt it. Having courage does not mean that one has to go into battle to defend beliefs or territory (this has gotten us into way too much trouble as history will remind us). Courage is sometimes doing the right thing, what the heart tells us to do, consequences be damned. The implications can be profound if one just has the will, the determination, and the balls to go beyond one's boundaries.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I couldn't have said it better myself. I still read real books. I don't know how long that will last. We have a book exchange in our community where people leave their old books for people to read and return. I think its cool that I've been through all these books that the internet can't track