Writing ? A Silent Talking to Oneself

Oliver Sacks said this about his writing:

…for the most part, I rarely look at the journals I have kept for the greater part of a lifetime. The act of writing is itself enough; it serves to clarify my thoughts and feelings. The act of writing is an integral part of my mental life; ideas emerge, are shaped, in the act of writing.

Well, that quote struck a chord, I often find myself surprised at how a blog post ends up talking about something, a point, I’d not thought of when I started. Thinking my thoughts onto ‘paper’ really does help draw out ideas I’d not thought of before! In this process, I concern myself about ‘rambling’, shifting this way and that as I’m thinking through something. Perhaps that’s a speech habit too! Sometimes rambling is just fine however at other times, and especially if I’m trying to ‘make a point’ the whole piece becomes stilted. Words do not flow on reading them back.

Sacks was an avid journal writer. He always had paper and pen with him and would stop and write whenever a thought worth noting came to him. There are photographs of him doing just this, outside a train station, resting paper on top of his stationary car. He even had paper beside him at the swimming pool, apparently! This is what he is quoted as saying about his journalling…

My journals are not written for others, nor do I usually look at them myself, but they are a special, indispensable form of talking to myself.

I find it quite absorbing to look into a writer’s ‘process’ such as Sacks and others. It’s an intimate look, through the window of their words, into their minds. Not spying, more appreciating their allowing themselves to be so vulnerable. Writing a journal is a kind of waystation; a silent talking to oneself.

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9 thoughts on “Writing ? A Silent Talking to Oneself”

  1. And do you ever experience re-reding something you’ve written years ago and wondering ‘who wrote that’! I keep a sort of spiritual diary (fitfully) and it is revealing sometimes to look back and see things which were big deals which no longer are!

    1. Yes, indeed Eric. I am frequently surprised that I understood something and talked about it so clearly. ‘Was that me talk there’? I wonder. I see themes but not much in the way of ‘big deals’. I cycle through death, health, animals, active stuff I’ve been doing. Letting go, but I try as hard as I can not to use those words. Anyway, thanks for dropping in the comment. I was especially interested in the idea of ‘talking to oneself’ through writing.

  2. In the past, writing has been a very ambitious activity for me. Unfortunately the joy of writing, the simple “act of writing itself” as Sacks puts it, became lost in my ambition. Will it be published? Will others like it or dislike it? Etc. Conversely, I’ve also found a refuge on the page. Writing can serve as a way to sort out the incessant chatter that rattles around in my head. It can provide a point of clarity, like a reset button; a place from which I can move forward. In fact, I think it is even happening right now as I am forming these sentences, awake in the middle of the night, unable to sleep!

    1. MILES! How wonderful to see you here even if it is due to your not being able to sleep and dropping a comment while awake at that time. Thank you. Let there be more writing in your life. Please. My love and regards to all over there, on the island. In Canada. No worries about being published, publish yourself and then…move on to the next thoughtful bit of writing-your-mind. I love it once I get going. But when I can’t write I just wait, and then wait some more and eventually something comes.

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