Everyone who writes, it's safe to say, has different reasons for writing. "Every writer primarily writes for the back of his own head," says British author Jonathan Raban. But when it comes to trauma, one of the key reasons people write -- or more informally, journal -- is to attempt to make sense of their own experience, and process successfully what's happened to them. I thought about that this morning, when I read this passage in a book:
"One author said, 'I can get rid of anything by writing about it,' meaning that the process of externalization could liberate him from the pain in his soul. That realization produced a delicious dichotomy: to free himself, or to hold on to both joys and tortures by remaining silent about them."
That last line is particularly striking: is the choice really between freeing yourself -- by expressing what you've been through, even to yourself -- or holding on to a potentially richer experience, by not sharing what you've been through with anyone? Seems like a difficult choice to have to make. What of it?