Whatnot Now? (same question, again: What Are We Doing Here)
We set out to answer this question recently in Reduced to Writing, where we noted that writing can be a valuable tool in our search for understanding and truth and (hopefully) “the meaning of life.” Sometimes leading forward, but not always. Many times writing serves as the tool that highlights our errors and magnifies our mistakes. (Yes, we also saw our earlier post failed to give an answer the primary question. Oops – we failed. But we dusted off and it’s time to try again. Getting up and trying again is, actually, the one victory that we can always win if we choose it.)
People can (or should) learn from failures and mistakes. Far more is learned when we try and fail than from any victory or success. The lessons from failure, if learned, can ultimately be what is needed to get to the right place.
When we succeed in defining our mission (soon – be patient), our only tool for undertaking it here will be writing, which we will need to 1) express the ideas that we want to share and 2) carry those expressions to any friends that want to listen, and 3) communicate our original ideas without loss of our original intention. In fact, the same skills are essential to all efforts to communicate effectively – where the goal is to share ideas without losing the intended meaning.
The question – again – why are we here? We found an answer that fits, from the start. It came from an interesting place (which shows that’s it’s important to always look for answers, wherever and whenever you happen to be).
Now An Answer:
We found our answer for today in a conversation recently shared between two true friends as they wandered along quietly in the soft darkness of a star-filled, but moonless night. Left alone together as the crowds drifted into the dark to find sleep, the two drifted and chatted along a newly discovered path that meandered through the darkness in an unknown direction, leading to an unknown destination.
As they followed down the meandering path, sharing their meandering chat, the path slowly changed and opened as it turned into an open field. The stars filled the sky above them, forming a ceiling of tiny lights. The pasture beneath their feet, grew full with newly sprouted dreams, ideas, purposes, and possibilities – all promising. The path straightened as it crossed the field, leading into a direction with potential and promise for finding to answers and other treasures at the end.
In the middle of the field, they paused and looked around with wonder at the place. One friend began to confess to holding a true love for writing words that could capture thoughts and share meanings hidden in ideas. “Writing,” he said, “gives me a sense of purpose and direction, while providing a place to release thoughts roaming within.” He felt a calling to teach people about what he knew of using words to create – a calling that he had never answered.
The other friend listened quietly as he spoke. When he was quiet, she confessed to holding a hidden desire to be a writer that could create beautiful stories of strength and survival through the darkness and pain found in life – the survival of humanity in the most unlikely conditions.
The concurrent confessions, each of hidden and long-held desire, fit together in a transcendental union. No further words of elaboration were needed. While the question here (what to write) was never asked, an answer arrived nonetheless. The two friends began to move again, continuing along the path in silence as ideas began to hatch into life on ways to use this space to fulfill the union of the two dreams.
Write or Not, Now It’s Time
So the plan is: we will from time to time try to “teach” and/or “share” our ideas about writing – how to do it, what it means, or anything we can dream up from what we know (or think we know) about writing.
Some of us have been writing for a long time – as can be seen from the handwritten pages from journals written about 40 years ago. We plan on focusing on personal experience for our primary source of information. We don’t plan on spending much time on formal rules of style, grammar, punctuation, etc. – because (1) excellent resources already exist that we could not hope to improve upon and (2) we don’t want to. (We will point to those resources as appropriate.)
We also plan on teaching by example. Anything we write is up for technical review and criticism. Hopefully, most of our writing here will be examples of good writing. But we are human and, no doubt, we will at some point serve up things that serve as examples of bad writing. Both good and bad samples are used as pedagogical tools. And we can take it – bring on the heat. We love a good “discussion.”