Everyone has a story.
From our first cry out of the womb we communicate our insight and experience as humans. It is natural. Each new insight and experience for the rest of our lives offers opportunity for story. As we learn, our stories multiply. When we share a story we share our learning. When we receive a story we mix it into our personal collection so the narratives become tangled, sparking new insights and altered versions of their story, our story.
Writing is about capturing our voices and sharing them through the page. We transform through communication. It is no coincidence that the words communicate and community originate from the same root: common. Regardless of economics, education, religion, politics, or geography we are joined as human beings in the common need to be connected to another in some way.
To be fully human, we need to share our thoughts and feelings, and we need to speak our truths.
We write who we are—we are what we learn. (Or don’t learn. Or unlearn.) Who we are influences what we are saying and how we are saying it.
Learning and writing can spin, buzzing with energy like an image of DNA. Learning and writing can be codependent and stringy and jumbled and conjoined. They can move fast and slow. Up and down, in and around our daily events.
Or learning and writing can move naturally, like the seeds of a sunflower; as we get closer to our centre we may become more expressive and creative.
Mary Catherine Bateson, a writer and cultural anthropologist, introduced me to the idea of learning as a spiral in Peripheral Visions: Learning Along the Way. She demonstrates how learning moves through themes. We move through lessons, we pick up from them what we need, we move on, and then loop back to the theme in another ring of the spiral to deepen our learning.
We learn before we write. We learn as we write.
The spiral represents what is happening on the inside of the writer as the words take form on the page. And after we write, the learning continues.
I often wonder how many people continue writing after they leave school. Not for any purpose, but to reflect and to learn and to express.