Life As I Felt It

Like a lot of young men who grew up to be writers, around seventeen I become philosophical. I wanted to know why we were here and what this was all about. A lot of people had been asking this question for a long time, but I was uninterested in their answers. Though we were all people who had lived or were living, other people’s answers were like the songs and stories and they had loved, and I wanted to know my answer like I knew and songs and stories I loved. In attempt to answer this question, I looked about at the world. Life was all around me, after all. All the other people and what they said and did were life; all the trees and oceans and fishes and birds were life; and all that had come before me was life, all the history and all the stories and all the wars and accomplishments and failures – all of it was life. If I wanted to understand life, there it was.

Yet the more I stared at it, the less it meant. I could not tell the good from the bad. Things died and were replaced by things that were born, and all the mourning and ceremony around these events were our invention, while life itself looked on undisturbed. I became bitter and moody. What a meaningless dustbin of accidents.

But of course I kept making things, all of which I happily added to the dustbin. Making things pleased me. To make something I had to move my attention from life as I saw it, to life as I felt it. Everything I would make—every song, story, play, gesture, or kiss—was nothing but a conduit for feeling. I had been correct not to look to others for my answer. In fact, I didn’t need to look at all to understand life, I only needed to remember what I already was.


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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