I just finished reading a blog post by a friend, a friend who chose to lay thin-sliced pieces of her heart on the page. In the reading, I realized: writing is a wrestling.
There are many skills and activities that involve striving and attaining. I don't think there are nearly as many that are only a communicated form working out the wrestling inside me. Kneading dough or prepping vegetables with a razor-edged knife (the pleasurable 'snick' of briskly cutting carrot); pounding out a passage of Mendelssohn's "Agitation" or getting into a soothing rhythm of loop and tug, loop and tug, as I crochet -- all of these help me process my thoughts and emotions.
They are never the wrestling for me that writing is.
When I write, and in particular when I sit down with my journal and pen, I bring my internal hairball. Don't know what I'm thinking, don't know exactly what I'm feeling or why, but I know spreading the threads of thought on the page will help me gain clarity.
It is wrestling because I have to find the correct words to trap unknowns, get something unseen onto blank space so that I know what I felt and thought, and perhaps even someone else might understand and identify with my entry, even if I am not there to explain or expound.
Any writer is brave, and this friend is braver than many. Writing on a blog gives the option of editing, of making the words nice and neat, of tying off untidy ends of unfruitful feeling. The best translations of the heart tend to be the ones that leave me more raw in the writing. I'm drained enough after such a piece that I don't have the energy to edit or critique or correct, too close to the feeling to be OK with "making it bleed" with red ink.
I'm proud of my friend. In writing tussles, what counts is getting the words on the page, not pinning the idea neatly to the mat so it can no longer breathe. She succeeded.