Why write? The bane and joy of any person with a ticker tape running through their head if to get it down on paper. Do I write the fiction, threading together all the beads of novel ideas and clever plot twists? Do I wax poetic about the beauty (and even horror) of my daily world, hoping to encourage myself, my mood and my motivations to simply get out of bed? Do I write so as to be better understood, ultimately helping to better understand myself?
Writing is an ultimate act of intimacy. I open my front door and invite you into my head. I welcome you to consider my ideas, my logic (or illogic – is that a word?). It is vulnerability at the end of a bungee cord. I willingly jump over the edge, releasing my thoughts into the world with no real prediction as to what they might encounter. Are they provocative, boring, pedantic, embarrassing, feeble, potent, illuminating, worthy?
And do I care? Do I care what my ideas encounter or engender? Should I?
I write to get the stuff out of my head. I am actually grateful to be so obscure as to not earn the ire of internet trolls who are simply ugly for the sport of being ugly. I write for myself and to be understood. No one has to read. No one has to respond. But intimacy (for me) has a path right through the forest that is planted by my writing. You can’t get to me without walking through that forest. Not every one has a similar forest of ideas, written out into words. It is my mission to explore whatever path in another person leads to their vulnerability and thus greater intimacy. I certainly cannot demand another write. I think I can request that they READ. It seems absurd that they would suggest I stop writing. Well, they can, but intimacy with me will be impossible. I write. I write this blog. I write emails. I write texts without abbreviations and I always typed with vowels. I use all the characters and the smart phones break my messages up into 1 of 3, 2 of 3 and 3 of 3 segments. You don’t have to write back but if you want to build intimacy, you should willingly make the effort.
What if the person I desire is a musician and their way of conveying themselves is through music? I cannot carry a tune or play a chord. But, if I desire connectivity, I shall work to understand their passion and might even try – however faltering or lame – to express myself in their “love language”. I’d share my favorite song or singer or I would LISTEN intently to their music and I would ask for interpretations. Music lessons. It is the endeavor of intimacy.
You try to speak the other person’s language. If they speak Russian and Russian is their comfortable place, the place they are at ease…..then I’ll be on Babelfish learning to speak wobbly, butchered Russian. It’s what you do. I can mimic English spoken with a perfect Russian accent.
What I do not do – if I hope to build intimacy – is to tell the other person to stop speaking Russian because I don’t speak Russian. And further, I have no intention to learn any Russian.
I am not that inflexible. I want to learn new things. I seek intimacy. I know myself and how I tick, but I am willing to learn another. To make the effort to connect, even it it means learning the harmonica or the Cyrillic alphabet. I cannot expect to be fluent in that language, but the person I love will (I am certain) appreciate my amusing efforts to learn them.