Thursday, 19 September 2013

Textual Therapy

Gosh, it's been a long time, hasn't it! And so much has happened!
I wasn't going to come back here, at least, not to write. I found the prospect difficult: Something perhaps from the past and which could now be mothballed or left as a testament to a time where there was plenty to be thought and said.
And life has been busy anyway. Employment is precarious now, with the definite prospect of imminent redundancy. My last fledgling will fly with trepidation tempered with excitement out into the world on Saturday, leaving the nest empty but for us bewildered and redundant parents.
It is a time of flux which is most unsettling.
A detour one morning from looking at gas burners to allow the making of beer outside the kitchen took me to an article which opened up some interesting lines of inquiry in my mind. Apparently, expressive writing assists in the healing of wounds. How fascinating! I had no idea!
Ok the study is very specific. It deals with subjects who are "elderly" (whatever this means) and the sample size is quite small. But nevertheless, the effect is demonstrable and fits with a radio programme I recently heard.

Now, there is a specificity about the process they describe: It must be about traumatic events that would otherwise fester in your head and affect physical processes best left to their own devices; The writing should be free-form, unedited and discarded afterwards. Oh, many conditions seem to be attached and I put this down mostly to science being only willing (and rightly so) to make pronouncements tentatively and immediately attributable to the data and methodology in question.
But I like the idea that taking a mess of thoughts and writing them down is helpful somehow (and mess it certain is! You should see the piles of rubbish kept for further examination and half-regarded work-in-progress concepts littering the place in here).
To take the powerful parallel-to-serial converter that is choosing what to express, finding the words and committing them to a linear stream on a page, somehow creates a calm clarity, a catharsis even.
Being able to articulate your feelings and thoughts by careful examination of them and subsequent expression in words that "hit the spot" is deeply, existentially satisfying. At least I find it so.

Well, mostly, I commit that to my more private writings, in a secure diary which I confess I would not want anyone else to read. All manner of insecurities are dissected and laid out clearly there. And it does help.

But here, there is at least the practise of finding the thought, choosing the words and allowing them to funnel out of the mind in which they have swirled around for a period of time. That has to be beneficial, doesn't it? Anyway, it's good for my tendency towards Attention Deficit Disorder, which so irritates those around me. It provides focus, clarity amidst the fog of confused cognition in which I mostly reside.

This is difficult actually. It feels like coaxing a rusty machine into motion after years of neglect.
But it feels good: I can sense the cogs freeing up with each word and movement is beginning. It feels healthy and wholesome. And I think I shall do some more of it.

5 comments:

Librarian said...

Well, that writing does have a healing effect on us is not surprising to me; I have never tried it in connection with physical injuries (since I do not get enough of those to really worry about them in the first place), but I can tell from my own experience how helpful writing has been (and still is) to my mental health. In fact, it is the reason why I started blogging in the first place!
Anyway, I am glad you are back in blogland. I was hoping you would be, and am not surprised that you would find writing easier again as you write more.

Jenny Woolf said...

I think that one of the reasons that some writers write (and in fact all kinds of creative people, create) is as a form of therapy.

I am not so sure that discarding it afterwards is a good idea, although I think it makes the writer focus on the process and not the end result, at least.

It's good to hear from you again and I do hope that you'll continue.

Friko said...

Having said what you said, have you taken your own advice? Not here, not yet, obviously.

Writing frees up old (and new) wounds, I have definitely found it so. In a blog one cannot be too detailed and specific and the deepest pain must remain private; but there is a way of approaching personal writing obliquely and thereby writing/not writing things out of ones system.

Good luck.

PS: plenty of plums in Shropshire this year, other fruit too. we obviously were spared the bud killing frosts.

Friko said...

Having said what you said, have you taken your own advice? Not here, not yet, obviously.

Writing frees up old (and new) wounds, I have definitely found it so. In a blog one cannot be too detailed and specific and the deepest pain must remain private; but there is a way of approaching personal writing obliquely and thereby writing/not writing things out of ones system.

Good luck.

PS: plenty of plums in Shropshire this year, other fruit too. we obviously were spared the bud killing frosts.

PerlNumquist said...

Thank you for your thoughtful and considered comments. It's difficult to write now, partly because I just plain don't have time in between all the dancing, making beer, making bread, working on my van. But mostly, I find that since my haemorrhage, my motivational circuits are not working well so I can't get myself to sit down and write, even when I have things to say. But I do acknowledge the value of it and I will find a way to re-engage. And anyway, I have my wine making book to finish :-)