Feeding the Beast with the Written Word
September 30, 2007
In his travelogue, Itinerant Witness , Mark wrote that:
“Making blog entries is like exercising or eating healthily. No one really wants to hear excuses about why you didn’t to it; you should just do it every day.”
I have been think about this quote nearly everyday now since Mark wrote it, and I realize that it is the truth. Travel writing, blog posting- what ever the hell you want to call this craft- just plain writing in general is an every day process that becomes nearly as vital for the writer’s well being as eating well or having sex. After a while you create this need to write, this urge to put your thoughts to paper, this need to express and share yourself with other people, that it becomes a process that you are continually in the midst of for all your waking hours. Writing becomes an all day, everyday process that cannot be quieted, skipped or replaced without leaving a gaping void.
It is as if you have a beast deep down inside of you that is hungry and can only be feed through the written word- the food that is the substance of your life and the radiance of its expression.
To feed this beast is to live your life, to save your life , to share your existence, and to simply breathe through the art of writing.
So it is written by William S. Burroughs:
“Until the age of thirty-five, when I wrote Junky, I had a special abhorrence for writing, for my thoughts and feelings put down on a piece of paper. Occasionally I would write a few sentences and then stop, overwhelmed with disgust and a sort of horror. At the present time, writing appears to me as an absolute necessity . . .”
A necessity it does become. At this point I could not imagine going to sleep at night without recollecting and writing something- some thought, some experience, some emotion- about the day that I just lived. If I were to end a day without writing, it would almost seem as if I had not even woken up that morning. Writing just becomes a part of you.
I am really enjoying the fact that there seems to be a little community of travel writers that is steadily building up around the various blogging networks of the internet. There are more long term travel writers out there than I previously knew of, and it makes me really happy to have finally broken the contact barrier with some of them. I have always taken to heart meeting people with whom I share a somewhat similar lifestyle: travellers, vagabonds, dreamers, and romantics- Andy from Hobo Traveler.com , Nath from Ubertramp, Christian from Nomad4Ever, Timen from and Craig from In My Allstars, and Craig from Travelvice. Friends of the Way, is how Han Shan referred to his fellow wandering, poem writing brethren, and I sort of like the elevated status of comradery that this term lends to such friendships.
friends of the Way I have always held dear
meeting a traveler with a silent spring
or greeting a guest talking Chan …
I suppose the only acquisitions that a traveller really collects along their journeys are memories, knowledge, and friendships. To write about these non-monetary, intangible acquisitions is to savor their sweet flavor for a little longer, to have something solid to leave the world, and to share those precious and hard learned lessons and experiences with others- so that they too may learn and pass on their knowledge in an ever flowing cycle. I enjoy reading the writing of other travellers. It is as if each blog post is a little gift of sorts- a gift of wisdom and teaching. As my friend Andy of hobotraveler.com just recently wrote to me in an email:
“. . . a person that gives, get back twice what they give.”
I also believe this to be true.
So, all of you Writers of the Road, if some dude named Wade all of a sudden starts leaving odd comments on your travelogue or emailing you with technical questions about webpages, don’t worry, he is just sitting in a lonely hotel room in Morocco trying to be your friend.