We are impermanent creatures living in an impermanent world, with constantly changing external stimuli flashing by and an endless algorithm of internal processes responding to it every moment. The only constant is change, and we shape our lives so we can have some sense of order and routine so that within those comfortable boundaries we can deal with those changes in the ways that best make sense to us.
For the longest time I resisted change. I wanted everything to be comprehensible and nailed down, even if I had to break bones and pull off miracles to get things just the way I wanted them. But somewhere along the way I realized that it was in trying to keep a handful of things the same, and focusing on that to the exclusion of all else, that I would look up from time to time and barely recognize the world around me for how much everything else had changed. And then the things that I tried to keep static changed, and everything flew apart.
I have always written things down. The inside of my head has always been a tempest, and the only way I’ve ever been able to make any sense of it is in trying to put it down on paper in an orderly fashion, to make sense of it by seeing it spelled out in the permanence of ink and pixels. I realized, somewhere along the way, that there wasn’t even permanence in that. All of my writing is just a snapshot of a footprint in the sand that’s led me to where I am now, taking the next step into the next step into the next step.
Whether it’s a crude note scribbled on a torn-off strip of paper to a manuscript-length exploration of the thoughts and ideas that are most important to me woven through thousands of words and hundreds of pages and countless hours and days of research and trial and error, I can look at those words and see myself. I can remember where I was when I wrote them, what I was thinking, what prompted them, even the first fumbling attempts at cramming the thoughts behind the words into the words themselves, which have always seemed to me shabby by comparison.
Mostly, I treat the putting down of words not just as a passive chronicling of events but as a conscious exploration of the tempest that’s going on in my head all the time, always, when even sleep is only sometimes a respite. And that’s the only way I’ve ever been able to discover whereby something constant can lead to change.