Monday, April 4, 2011


It seems to me,  reading and writing go together like ham and eggs, toast and  jam ,  birds and flying. 

An epic story, a memoir, a poem is meant to be read — Just as  when an actor acts, he performs  for an audience to see , and enjoy; Or  a painter captures  to canvas  a beautiful landscape with color and pastel , hoping  to  share with others what was in her eye’s view.  Writer’s write to express their thoughts, to speak for others and sometimes through others; To tell a tale  that may warm the heart or make one sad, or laugh out loud.

An idea, like a tiny seed planted in earth’s soil germinates and begins to grow, until finally it blossoms and blooms from that secret place within.  Eventually , the idea becomes a story with proper punctuation, correct grammar, no typo’s  or misspelled words. But  initially,  it is just feeling and movement of thought welling up from heart, mind, soul. The writer is compelled to spew it out. And ultimately the story , poem, essay finds its way to paper or PC.

Believing this to be true,  I began to ponder  and ask,  if there were no readers to read what writers wrote, would writers still write ?   Answering my own question, “Yes.  Of course, writers would still write”. We’re funny creatures that way.  Writing is a part of who we are.  Like the air we breathe,  and food we eat.  We’re an eclectic  group, too.  We write fiction, non-fiction, mystery, poetry, plays;  Some write letters, some a daily journal.   It is the way we express ourselves best , allowing us to be honest with our thoughts  - at least for that moment in time.  Writing helps us shed the puff and fluff; the shallowness , and reveal  more of our depth of being.

 Leo Tolstoy, one of the giants of Russian literature ,  is quoted  as  saying , “ A writer is dear and necessary for us only in the measure in which he reveals to us the inner working of his soul.”   I think that’s true, especially true of journal writers.

My younger brother, Walt passed away May 30, 2010.  Until last weekend I, nor anybody else who  loved Walt knew  he  had kept a journal,  or that he   had been a writer.  To our great and happy surprise,  my mother and  I discovered Walt’s journal buried at the bottom of a duffel bag he had stored at her house all these years.   The  pages are dated   from the 1980’s.  My brother’s writing helps prove my point, writer’s don’t always write to be published or  in print, but because they are inspired and motived to do so. 
Here are a couple examples of what  I believe Tolstoy meant when he said, “He reveals to us the inner working of his soul.” 

By Walter Cooney

Songs are sung.  Words are written.
Men, women, boys and girls
have died in the name of love
But yet it happens every day.
You say  so easily,
“I  love a hat, a shirt, a ring,
the dog, and of course ice cream”
No, my lovely lady, that kind of love
isn’t love at all . Real love
hurts, and gives  joy to
the heart.

To love what is gone. My heart is
so sad.  To be loved is to have love,
to give love. When there is no-one
to receive love,  where does
it go ?  Where does it end?
To hear what can not be heard,
to see what can’t be seen
to smell what doesn’t smell
It’s like being lost,
being dead
People killing people,
lives dying everyday
all in the name of love.

Oh, this thing called love
What is it? Where does it come from ?

I beg  all of you  writers who are not published authors, but keep a journal , write letters or  stories and poems for yourself, never think of  your writing as unimportant or without value.   Persevere in telling your story, sharing your thoughts, revealing a part of yourself . I can promise you,  at some point, some time it will lift someone’s spirit and touch someone’s heart.

Postscript:  While there are no staid or circumscribed  rules for journal writing, there are several books available that may prove helpful in your journal writing effort.  Titles include:

Creative Journal Writing: The Act of Reflection by Stephanie Dowrick, 350 Fabulous Prompts: Thought Provoking Springboards for Creative, Expository and Journal Writing by Jacqueline Sweeney, Voice of Her Own: Women and the Journal Writing Journey by Marlene A. Schiwy and Leaving a Trace: On Keeping a Journal by Alexandra Johnson

*** To read my blog My Brother's Journal link to



Nancy Owens Barnes said...

"...a movement of thought welling up from the heart..." is a wonderful way to define the passion of writing. Your brother's words are proof of that idea. Even though outside factors may influence one's writing, the core urge and desire to write come from inside.

Mary Jane Honegger said...

There is something powerful in seeing the thoughts someone felt inspired enough to put down on paper. I'm so glad you found your brother's words before they were lost, and that you shared them with us. I'm giving a program in a few months on the importance of saving "Herstory," so am excited to check out the books you listed. Great job, and WELCOME to Writing North Idaho as a regular Blogger!

Kathy Dobbs said...

Thank you Mary Jane and Nancy ! Positive feedback from fellow writers is always encouraging