Essaying; or, Why I Blog

Talking with a friend, I realized I should take a moment to explain the reason I am blogging. My blogs are chances for me to essay. Essaying is a verb that means, literally, “to try” or “to attempt.” Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592), a French essayist, called his writings essays because he was attempting to put his thoughts onto paper. In this way, my blog is my attempt—my essaying—to try to put thoughts onto paper.

Well, screen.

To me, writing is a spiritual practice. It is a movement toward greater understanding. It is a journey toward apotheosis as I come to know my humanity better through the words I write. I write because it allows me to ruminate on a subject, not coming to a definitive conclusion, but rather opening the door to understanding, even in just a little way, the simple complexity and complex simplicity of the universe that surrounds us.

I write to think.

I also write to share. At the end of my first writing class in college, taken from one of my all-time favorite writing teachers, Lisa Harris, I was asked as a final assignment to write about writing. This is what I wrote:

Sharing Imaginary Friends

I’m an atheist; I’m a Christian. I have magic; I live in space. I argue, defend, or offend. I waltz at a ball, kill a dragon, and fall in love. Writing gives me the chance to be anything I want. Through the power of my fingertips, I’ve lived a hundred lives in black and white, even though I’m only twenty-one. I’ve grieved at a death, watched the birth of a child, and visited with angels and demons. Writing is like chipping away at the walls between imagination and reality just to peek in, say hello, and discover new friends. Writing is my tear-wetted pillow, my frolicking through an open field, and my mountain ascension. I fly; I swim; I run. Writing grants me freedom to enjoy the human experience in any possible way I can imagine. Writing defines and refines me. Writing makes me an author. Authors are people that have the privilege of sharing their imaginary friends with the world.

I still believe this is true. I can share the craziness that happens in my head through writing. I can attempt things, I can fail at things, and I can succeed at things, all through writing. This blog will be a place of failure, but it is in those places of failure that we succeed the most.