Sunday, November 10, 2013

Don't Compliment My Writing

Writing is nothing more than an impulse.

It's like gasping for air after holding your breath for too long, or running to the grocery store at 11 pm to satisfy a craving for pickles. I can't tell you how many times I've arrived late to appointments because I start writing and I just can't switch off the flow of ideas. My judgment is overpowered by the sense of urgency that underlies everything I create.

I acknowledge the value in the fact that I've found a way for my natural drives to vest themselves in spiritual expression. I thank G-d every day that I need not turn to the unwholesome comic strips and corny song lyrics I used to come up with to let off steam during high school study hall (although some of my friends might miss the entertainment).

But my writing only wears a costume of holiness. Yeah, the contents of this blog relate to my life as a Jew, composed through the lens of the Torah I've learned and the community I've experienced. But I'm propelled by a lust for thought and expression that often controls me more than I control it. Which makes writing about spiritual matters just a glorified game of dress-up.

I don't mean to self-demean. I just think it's important to come clean about why I'm doing what I'm doing. This is just the way we were created. We engage in holy pursuits with animalistic motivations, endowed by G-d with the mission of purifying those motives.

So don't compliment my writing. I write because I can't help it.

Instead, compliment me when I tell my brain to shut up and I get up to do someone a favor. Compliment me when I decide to postpone outlining an essay because I know I'm being disrespectful by showing up late to class. When I do something that I'm really not good at but I know it's the right thing to do- that's when your praise and encouragement will really mean something.

I believe every artist is presented with the challenge of transforming artistic needs into wants and turning instincts into choices. To create should not be a submission to desire but an assertion of purpose in this world.


  1. Your writing is so clever! What a great writer you are! (I'll give you a fork next time you see me.)

  2. thank you for all of the times you listen to me talk about the same thing