… writing … one of the conditions on which my perfection will depend …

Thomas Merton

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This is another entry from Merton’s journal.  The date: September 1, 1949.

There is a truth to what he says of those who read, and write.  He makes me wonder what that truth says, how it is filled out.

He speaks of writing on his death bed, of how he must “put down on paper” what he has “become.”  Likewise, how in writing he remains himself and how putting himself “down on paper” demands “the most complete simplicity and integrity, masking nothing, confusing no issue.”

Strikingly, he calls it “a kind of crucifixion” that “so much requires honesty” and “a holy transparency … losing (himself) entirely by becoming public property … (his) way to solitude.”

I am struck by this and it makes me ask: Why do I write?

It is for me a giving.  A contact.  A connection with others, someone.

Does it come from loneliness or from the drive for friendship, fellowship?

This I do not know.  I presume that latter for we are social beings and complete in the contact with one another.  Friendship is such a deeply interior desire, our nature when we are whole.  But, then too, it is a bridge to solitude and the self within, our soul and its doors to the collective unconscious … to those kin who have come from long before, spoke different languages and drew on cave walls.

We are alone when we write.  It is now 3 a.m. and the rain is falling and it is quiet but for the rain and the clicking of the keys on the keyboard.

Writing is such an odd combination of reaching out in silence to those whose names and particular state of being you may not know, and being in solitude at the very same time.

A public crucifixion?  I do not know, but I do often think of Christ who died for all those yet to be born.  I suppose that is the reach of friendship and love and sacrifice … and, perhaps, of writing.  We read, after all, the words of others from days long past and they speak to us as if today.

It is 3 a.m. and it is raining.  I sit in solitude and reach out as the keys click and the rain drops soothe and speak.

Shalom.

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