#24: Howdy

The delicate balance between spontaneous thought and setting constraints

I often think, what the heck is this newsletter about?

I never get a clear answer, so I have to remind myself that this newsletter is a living and breathing extension of me.

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of: this newsletter is about this, or this newsletter is about that. It’s normal for us to want to control our reality by putting a bunch of lines and boundaries around our experience.

Of course, there is a time and a place for setting constraints, drawing inside of the lines, and thinking linearly.

For example, writing a book requires bouts of linear, rational thought. You must create a table of contents and make an outline, neatly and cohesively structuring ideas so readers understand your message.

Writing a book also requires bouts of non-linear thinking, free of any imposed structure. At the beginning of the writing process, an author needs to create several “shitty drafts” (I swear this is a technical term, click on the link) to get ideas out of her head and onto paper.

The writing process is a beautiful interplay of no structure with structure. The art of writing, the craft, is about setting boundaries and drawing inside some arbitrary lines that you create; in other words, the craft of writing is about discovering and setting constraints to effectively communicate a message.

When I think about the online writers who have influenced me the most, who gave me the courage to write online, I think about these three people: Sasha Chapin, Ava, and Michael Ashcroft. These souls share a unique ability to be vulnerable and write beautiful, spontaneous prose that serves as a truth-telling vessel for their lived experience.

Looking back in the rearview mirror, it make sense that my own writing is spontaneous and free flowing. Perhaps I am sowing the seeds to write a book; but, until that time is ripe, I will continue living my life and keeping a public, spontaneous, free-flowing record of my thoughts.

It’s perfectly okay that this newsletter is not about one specific, clear thing.

I will leave you with some words from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.--'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.'--Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood?

Take care, and be well. Write down your thoughts!


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