From, Ways of Escape, by Graham Greene, a collection of essays that gather together thoughts about his writing.
Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in the human situation.
I put this book at the top of my Christmas list. Santa tracked down a copy for me, and it’s living up to my expectations. So I must have done something good this year.
It’s not just that Greene says things that resonate for me, he was such a careful wordsmith. I love his economy: his precision.
I too believe that writing is therapeutic*. There is a great sense of achievement in putting words together to build a piece of writing.
And the magic is that sometimes, we create meanings we didn’t plan to, even when we think we’re concentrating on telling things ‘straight’. When writing works, and a reader tells me that I’ve evoked a mood, a feeling…an atmosphere through my writing, that’s a buzz.
It makes sense to me that just as I do, and have always, read to be transported into other worlds and lives, I write for the same reason. First of all, it is an escape, and perhaps it’s when I forget that, that I can go wrong.
So I’m putting this quote on my wall, alongside the ‘write what you know/write what you don’t know’ one. Because for me, these three things together say more than I can possibly explain here…
I pass them on with the hope that they have a similar effect on you.
*There is a whole branch of the writing industry that is devoted to using writing as therapy, called LAPIDUS. They use a variety of writing skills to provide valuable personal development coaching.