Friday, May 4, 2007

Bank on your writing

Jim Banholzer

To embark on the question, “Why should we write?” there exist innumerable answers. For starters, once we begin the process of writing; unexpected new solutions come along, while we formulate new thoughts. Like bolts from the blue, sometimes these revelations stun even the author. For instance, When J.R.R. Tolkien was scripting his brilliant tale, The Lord of the Rings, the mystifying character Aragorn suddenly appeared on the pages of his manuscript, smoking in the corner of the ‘Prancing Pony’. Dr.Tolkien’s first instinct was to dismiss this vagabond, by editing him away. However, as the story evolved, Aragorn not only became a lead role player, but the King himself. The great mystery herewithin is that one of the most imaginative authors of our last millennia, -a word-wizard himself- could not predict this, but rather enjoyed the uncanny solutions that came along during the writing procedure.

Another strong reason that we should write, is that our memories often become prisms, refracting only limited light. Marking down wide clear-cut observations, fresh as they occur, helps the historical records accuracy. -Not only for humankind at large, but also for our personal histories. As the years progress, frequently we ponder; did such and such event occur previous to another? Was my old boss, Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham alive to witness 9-11? –was a question I recently posed to myself. By simply probing through some search engines, it was easy to find several dated online newspaper accounts, which indicated that she had passed on in Idaho several months before the horrific events of that defining day.

Often when friends exchange personal letters, a sense of joy comes upon them, sensing how much caring energy was put into this scribing. Hearing in personal ways from long lost friends, can make the recipients of such correspondence feel as though they are floating on top of the world. One might even become overwhelmed with enough delight to imagine, “Did a magnificent hummingbird, kiss and lick this stamp, while it was being applied to my friends blessed letter?” Many recipients hold on to precious letters like these. Often correspondences between noted author’s gain more value as collectors items, than rare first edition books, since letters of this sort are one of a kind.

Therefore, as you can see, there are copious reasons to write. I enjoy writing, because it helps my intra-communication greatly focus. Sometimes the peaceful contemplation that naturally comes along with writing helps me understand myself better, in a world that often is wayward. Focused writing “rightens” things for a while sharpening life’s jangling juices of the mind. Writing is one of the best investments that you can make in your life. Even if only a few minutes is spent at the end of each day, for instance right after you squirrel away the spare change from your pocket into the piggy bank, by then writing in a small journal, you may later on discover that what you have written has paid off with an equally fine dividend. After all, is not your own mind the highest value, in which you can invest?

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Two talented writers, Jan Daniels and Tony Evans will be offering separate writing workshops in June at Hailey’s Community Campus. For more info, call 788-2033 or see the CSI Catalog @

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