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February 17, 2016: Why I Write

Today, I had my weekly meeting with Jen and Jay Bartholomew – they are my internal martial arts teachers. The original plan was for me to assist Jay in writing a book. As it turned out, I’m the one doing the learning, or so it seems. Lately, the focus has been on learning to release tension, using the breath. And our talks generally culminate in our doing some writing. I feel in this respect like I have a writing group. Jay came up with the prompt this week – it was why you should write. He and Jen both wrote for a long time. This was a breakthrough for Jay, who I think is now on his way to becoming a published author. I wrote the following. What’s the most interesting

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thing about it is that it indicates that I’m becoming more aware of my physical self.

Why should I write? Actually, the question I need to consider is, why do I write? In order to answer this question, I first need to consider the question, how do I write? Most drafts, like this one, I first write out in longhand. Physically, I grasp the pen with my thumb and index finger, and rest the pen or pencil on my middle finger. I then push my hand forward, making small motions with the pencil, using my fingers. My fingers are loose when I’m relaxed and tight when I’m tense. My dad used to curve his left hand and pull the pen across the page. The way I do it, I get ink on the outside of my palm or long sleeved shirt.

Tom Nagel, the riding teacher/psoas/Zen guy – he wrote a book called Simple Pushes, which is about this very subject, saying that some people are pushers and some are pullers. Those he calls unbalanced pullers “are often described as shy, introverted or lazy.” They pull when it’s appropriate to push. “Pullers think about what to do but frequently end up doing nothing. They try to get what they want by being nice and likable – all the time. They expect others to know what they want without asking. Asking requires pushing.” Conversely, unbalanced pushers “would rather lead than follow. They participate and perform rather than watch. They are often the movers and shakers, the owners and heads of companies and organizations. Pushers are the managers and top salespeople. They like to compete and are willing to work to achieve their goals. They are the politicians, professionals, athletes and performers. Some of these people are balanced. Others are not.”
Me, I’m a puller, but I push the pen. Maybe I write because it’s my saving grace. Here, I push, in an attempt to strike a balance in my otherwise unbalanced life.

I have been trying to push more lately. It was very difficult for me to ask those I’m instructing to pay for it – and my being insistent almost (at first) hardly seemed worth the effort because it caused me so much angst. However, the payoff (no pun intended) has been that I feel like I’m being reciprocated for my endeavor, an endeavor that takes a lot of time and effort, both in and out of the arena setting.

Oddly enough, in attempting to strike a balance between pushing and pulling, I have become a more sporadic writer. I used to be a very disciplined writer – I’d write every day, come hell or high water. Now I write at various times of the day, like now. It is a good thing – I needed to at least temporarily abandon my morning routine and venture out a bit. I hope to return to morning writing because I want to regain what I’ve lost, which is consistency. A dispatch here, a dispatch there, here a dispatch, there a dispatch, everywhere a dispatch, e i e i o.

So why do I write? I write in order to make sense of what’s going on inside and outside of me. Writing slows me down, and provides me with an opportunity to reflect upon past events and ruminate about future events. I am thinking about the past when I write or speculating about the future, but I am in the present when I’m considering how I hold the pen and move it across the page. I have just, in doing simple exercises, started to notice my fingers, wrist, palm. This is a new sort of awareness for me. I would not have written this dispatch (which was first a journal write) had I at least temporarily become a more sporadic writer.

Next: 48. 2/18/16: A Private Lesson

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