Life's Only Answer

The more I write, and the more I pay attention to how I write, the less interested I become in scientific discoveries. Mind you, I love reaping the benefits of all the work scientists do. Author, for instance, wouldn’t exist in its virtual form were it not for the explosion of scientific invention in the last half-century. I also love it when scientists “discover” what I have long felt to be true. In this month’s issue, Jennifer Paros writes that ninety percent of the universe is made of dark energy and dark matter. Physicists believe these substances exist, not because they have perceived either, but because they have perceived their effects. In other words, something we can’t see is making the universe expand, so we’ll call it dark energy. Sounds right to me. But if I allow myself to become too comforted by scientific discoveries, my writing inevitably suffers. Writing, for me, is spending two to three hours a day asking this question: “Does that feel right?’” That’s all I do, over and over and over. “Does that feel right? Does that feel right? Does that feel right?” If the answer is yes, the word goes to the page. If the answer is no, it does not.

Over the years I have come to trust that yes and that no above all other answers. Yet trust is exactly what those answers require. My only proof that a word belongs or does not belong is how it feels to put it on the page. Do this often enough, trust this dark energy yes and no, and answers that come from elsewhere, no matter how much evidence supports them, become increasingly meaningless.

They are meaningless not because they aren’t true, but because there is no better feeling than the unequivocal writing yes. To hear that yes is to find yourself, to stand for a moment in alignment with who you are. To disregard it, or to seek answers elsewhere is our only true betrayal. Your worth and meaning will never be proven, they will only be known in the instant you ask if you are possible, and receive life’s only answer.


Write Within Yourself: An Author's Companion. "A book to keep nearby whenever your writer's spirit needs feeding." Deb Caletti.

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