Unseen Passage: Writing Is for All of Us

Some of us think that writing is only for writers. But writing is for all of us. As Julia Cameron notes in her book The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life, “I believe we all come into life as writers.”

Writing can be beneficial for all of us, because it can be therapeutic. One of the most powerful parts of therapy is cultivating the ability to observe our thoughts and feelings, said Elizabeth Sullivan, a licensed marriage and family therapist in San Francisco. And that’s what writing helps us do.

“Most of us do not think in complete sentences but in self-interrupted, looping, impressionistic cacophony,” she said. Writing helps us track our spinning thoughts and feelings, which can lead to key insights (e.g., I don’t want to go to that party; I think I’m falling for this person; I’m no longer passionate about my job; I realize how I can solve that problem; I’m really scared about that situation.)

Writing is “speaking to another consciousness – ‘the reader’ or another part of the self. We come to know who we really are in the present moment,” she said.

Writing also creates a mind-body-spirit connection, she said. “When you use your hands to pen or type something directly from your brain, you are creating a powerful connection between your inner experience and your body’s movement out in the world.”

We hold worries, fears and memories in our bodies, Sullivan said. When we use the body in positive ways – such as dancing or writing — we stay in the present moment, we inhabit our bodies, and we can heal ourselves, she said.

“Writing is a small movement but it is incredibly powerful when you are writing down what is in your mind.”

Here are three types of writing you can try :

Free write. Free writing or journaling is simply writing what’s on your mind. It’s letting it all hang out without censoring yourself. According to Sullivan, this could be: “Today I woke up and found the car window smashed and I wondered if the glass replacement guys go out at night and do it.”

Pen Poetry. “Poetry is a natural medicine; it is like a homeopathic tincture derived from the stuff of life itself–your experience,” writes John Fox in Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making.

Compose a letter. Sullivan suggested writing a short letter to a loved one. Imagine this person has written to you and asked you: “How are you doing, really?” Another exercise is to “write to someone with whom you have ‘unfinished business’ without sending it.” The goal is for you to gain a clearer understanding of your own thoughts and feelings about the person, she said.

Q. On the basis of your reading and understanding of the above passage, answer the following:

  1. Why does Julia Cameron believe that we all come into life as writers?
  2. What is the most important therapeutic quality of writing?
  3. Whose consciousness does a writer touch through his or her writing?
  4. How does Elizabeth Sullivan describe our thinking? Why does she say so?
  5. Which word in the passage means ‘a coarse unpleasant noise’ ?
  6. How can a person clear his or her misunderstanding with someone ?
  7. The word ‘tincture’ can be replaced with the word
    1. trace
    2. potion
    3. touch
    4. flavour
  8. Which of the following, according to the passage,is not true about writing ?
    1. Writing is a static activity of the brain.
    2. Writing is a process of self-discovery.
    3. Writing is a positive way of using our body.
    4. Writing helps us streamline our thoughts.

Answer

  1. Julia Cameron believes that we all come into life as writers because she thinks that writing is for all of us. Everyone has the right to write.
  2. The most important therapeutic quality of writing is that it helps the writer observe his or her thoughts and feelings.
  3. A writer touches his or her own consciousness or another part of his or her self and the consciousness of the readers.
  4. Elizabeth Sullivan describes our thinking as self-interrupted, looping, impressionistic cacophony because we don’t think in complete sentences. We jump from one thought to another.
  5. cacophony
  6. A person can clear his or her misunderstanding with someone by writing an unsent letter to that person.
  7. potion
  8. Writing is a static activity of the brain.

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