“A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered. Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people – people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.” ― E.B. White
Someone recently asked me why I write a blog every day. Surely there are other things I could do with the time. But other than exercise and sleep I can’t think of anything done regularly that improves you more than consistently putting yourself out there in the world. Writing forces contemplation, feeds both the stack of books and the small and large experiences consumed to be shared, and maybe in some small way make the writer alive for the reader, whether you’re reading this today or 50 years from today.
Lately I’ve felt a sense of loss when I finish a blog post. It’s a tangible shift from my work to my past work as I click publish. It’s similar to the feeling of putting a letter in the mailbox once felt, before email and text made letter-writing feel less… self-gratifying. When you click send on an email or text the response back is close to immediate. There’s a high in surfing this wave of electronic banter that the sender experiences in real time. I suppose a blog also offers likes and views and subscribers that may feed that sensation. But getting back to the point, dropping that letter in the mail was consequential: “I’ve created this, for you, and now I’m releasing it.”
Don’t you miss crafting such letters and dropping it in the mail with all your hopes and dreams sailing away on the wings of a postage stamp? Don’t you miss the experience of receiving a letter from a thoughtful friend, full of introspection and insight? Maybe we ought to write more letters, I don’t know, but we certainly should be writing more. Writing offers a chance to fly into the future for the author, and a time machine back to our present for the reader. It’s our moment with the infinite, even as we realize the fragility of the exchange.