In the first instalment of this topic (blog 20/10/22), I mentioned that writing was a possible way to craft a legacy. In this blog, I want to explore how I also see writing as catharsis.
Writing enables me to explore issues that I feel passionate about and express opinions that may sometimes be unsavoury to vocalise in a world that is increasingly obsessed with being sanitised and 'politically correct'. The views I might express in my writing needn't be reality-based. They aren't necessarily opinions that I subscribe to but ones that I make to catalyse discussion. Sometimes it is more constructive to an argument to take a contrary view merely to encourage the reader to think of the idea from a different perspective.
Writing gives me an outlet to purge the thoughts in my head from which I am best unburdened. The mere act of taking immaterial thoughts and making them material by putting them into words on paper is therapeutic in itself. Making the intangible tangible enables the writer to download and, if necessary, delete the thoughts that have been documented. This is the concept that many executive coaches advocate to destress. Thoughts put onto paper (e.g. in a diary or journal) enable the reader to step back from the reality expressed and manage stress. If need be, throwing away the thoughts put on paper assists with the purge.
Some say – 'write what you know'. I couldn't disagree more. Writing empowers me to go where I've never been and do things that are only limited by imagination. I often wonder if the person who coined the phrase has ever heard of sci-fi, which by definition goes beyond the writer's reality.
In my first novel, Darwin's Wake, I expressed opinions that might have otherwise struggled to find an outlet. Some might say I have been a bit 'preachy', but others might think I need to push the arguments farther. I hope that I have crafted a story that entertains the reader while at the same time has made them think and feel. If the reader continues to think beyond the time when they are reading the book – I have met a primary goal of my writing.