Good morning, everyone…
A generation ago, when “Annie Hall” won the Oscar for Best Picture, talk therapy occupied a prominent place in our collective imagination, whether or not you partook. If you wanted to spend several hours a week baring your soul to a stranger who was professionally obligated to listen and react, you went into therapy. Today you join a writing workshop.
I love the craft of writing – whether it is writing the words that compose a simple text message, a long email catch up with a friend, a posted comment to an Op-Ed in the Times, a business letter, a personal essay, a novel, or even a simple G+ post. What is often the most difficult thing to write is the personal note – telling someone we love them, we miss them, that they matter to us, they they have hurt us, or admitting that we have hurt them… and then apologizing.
The creative, intellectual, exploratory and emotional journey a writer takes often leaves me slack-jawed, because it takes courage to lay it all bare. It doesn’t matter whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, there is no way to write without examining one’s life and history, coming to terms with one’s emotions and beliefs, trotting out one’s sense of humor and stash of anger, sometimes being coy, charming and seductive, sometimes flat out nasty, sarcastic and cynical.
While there are those in the traditional publishing world who bemoan its diminished reputation and are fearful of the encroaching power of e-publishing, blogging and a veritable spate of online rags, mags and zines, I champion what seems to be an effort, whether conscious or not, to reinvent the social media version of the long-lost art of letter writing. Granted personal letters were, well… personal, and what is written for social media consumption is well… public to a great degree, but if writing online in a social media venue gets people communicating and commenting, then I champion, and herald, and second it.
No need for a stamp. No need for a slick of saliva across the gluey flap of an envelope. No need to head for the shrink’s couch. Instead, read Steve Almond’s Why Talk Therapy is on the Wane and Writing Workshops Are on the Rise and dive into the art of literary nonfiction or fiction or poetry yourselves. The point is not to saddle yourself with the goal or aim or ambition of becoming a published writer. The point is much more simple: to write. I communicate, therefore I am.
I don’t care what anyone says – Writing is therapy. And thank God for that.
Have a great week, all…and thanks for reading.