Healing Habits

There must be some kind of fairy dust that sprinkles off of words as they pass through my mind’s eye. That dust helps me somehow. As the words tumble onto the page, I feel better. The words don’t even have to be very good. As they start to appear on the page, the world starts to be okay. My world starts to feel okay.

I already wrote a blog entry earlier this morning. It felt good. And I really needed to feel good again, because I haven’t been feeling very good. But typing the words on this MasterKeys S has helped. It feels low tech, typing on this keyboard. It reminds me of the various typewriter keyboards that were around when I was younger. It also reminds me of the IBM Model M keyboards. Those were great. It reminds me of how good I felt when I would sit down and write short stories as a recent college graduate, or even a soon-to-be college graduate. I wasn’t very good, but there was still some magic that would ooze out sometimes, and something nice would appear on the page. It was totally by accident, and yet it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t showed up and typed on that keyboard.


Short stories would get to me. Quality stories like I would read in my literature program. Some of those authors were just made to affect me. I wish I could tell them how much they meant to me. There was a time in my life when I left the church that I believed in, and I entered a void full of fear and alienation. I guess it was an existential void. But my extra reading included lots of stories from authors who were off the official reading list and on the unofficial reading lists of authors an educated person should read. I read. And they changed me.

They made me want to try to write also. I began to see in myself the same sort of suffering they spoke of through their characters. I knew that they had to be suffering too. I knew I was a part of some much larger program for human beings. And if I shared a planet with people like Saul Bellow and Fyodor Dostoevsky, I could actually be as bad a person as I felt I was.

These authors appeared to come from a sort of darkness that others couldn’t understand. I felt I knew that same darkness. Perhaps all people know something of this darkness, but it’s so unspeakable, that scarcely anyone can acknowlege it. But I felt like I couldn’t avoid it. And when I was leaving the church, I definitely couldn’t avoid it. I began to feel the Darkness came from the church! But novels and stories kept me from killing myself. They kept me alive. From that time until now, I’ve known that no matter how depressed I might feel, I wasn’t alone. I knew that even amazing human beings could experience the psychic agony I recognized in literature. I guess stories continue to help me survive.

Despite how grand the technology of the day might become, human beings still remain largely the same. We just think about different stuff. Values and Beliefs change, the conceptual models for life change, but the truth behind the models doesn’t change. It seems like these truths are captured in stories. If you try to say the truths in an aphorism, too much gets lots in the translation. But if you point to a character in a story, the meaning lasts for centuries. When you point to an Ahab or an Achilles or a Herzog, you’re pointing to libraries of encyclopedias and universes of human understanding. These are the characters that change generations of lives. They affect entire cultures and probably worlds.

When I sprinkle words onto a page of my own, it’s like my world wakes up and comes to life. Words are all that were used to bring to life the characters of literature. Words can be amazingly powerful. Just watching them appear on the page, line after line, inspires me and gives me faith. I feel like everything will be okay.

Sprinkling words onto a page of my own, I feel like a miniature hero inside me grows a new leaf and emerges through the soil.