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What Writing Means to Me is the Very Crux of a Soul

Throughout my life I occasionally encountered those who laughed at the notion of me doing any writing. I'm not talking about the naysayers who thought of career writing as nothing more than a pipe dream. I'm talking about just writing; writing for myself in a journal, writing stories or the very rare poem, or writing articles. Obviously the people who laughed at the notion of writing were people who: a) didn't know me at all well, and/or b) people who don't do a lot of reading or writing themselves.

I have never been able to imagine my life without having writing in it. When I was twelve it was performed on an old electric typewriter where the keys really required pounding. As a teenager it was in various notebooks and journals. In early adulthood it was on a slightly more advanced electric typewriter. I graduated to an electronic typewriter eventually, where I had the option to correct my mistakes. Wow! What an advancement in technology for the writer. When I ran out of the correctable ribbon cartridges, and couldn't afford more, I would go back to the notebooks.

Eventually I ended up with a computer. My first one was handed down from my mother and step-father when they upgraded. It was an old 8088, one of the very first to be widely marketed for home use. I could write stories on it, but I couldn't write a journal.

I apparently have some sort of oddity in my system where I have too much electricity in a very specific way. No, I do not consider this a 'psychic' thing. The human body has plenty of scientifically-documented electricity running through it, so there's no need to go looking for paranormal explanations. Nerve impulses, pain signals, what have you - the fact is, almost everything in our bodies is connected to (or controlled by) electricity, including the beating of our hearts. Electricity has always been a part of us, and of our planet. When we talk about generating electricity it might be more accurate to say we harness what's already there. We don't get it from nothing.

The point is, when I wear a watch I tend to slow it down. They don't stop, but they lose time. Many years ago I had an electronic weight scale that would vary by about twenty pound every time I stepped on it - I'm talking about stepping on it every thirty seconds or so, not over an extended period of time. After having done some research on the subject, I've concluded that static electricity is the most likely culprit, rather than some electro-magnetic field being generated - and from what I read of the skeptics, that's supposedly some sort of woo-woo stuff. I don't know enough about it to form a serious opinion, though. It no longer has so much of an impact on my life, so I have to assume that electronics are better-shielded now - quite probably for our own safety from the health risks. Even the keyboard section in my laptop is encased in plastic - a good thing, since I've spilled quite a bit.

When it came to computers at the time, however, I must have emitted more static when I was in a stronger emotional state. The keyboard was plastic, but static jumps. It's the only explanation I can come up with that makes any sense to me at all. I could write stories, but I couldn't write a journal, because my computer would not save it so that I could retrieve it. I would have the journal come back as gobbledegook or computerese, with a lot of strange symbols. It was almost like it was being encrypted, which I wasn't trying to do. I had a password, and no one I knew at the time would have been able to 'hack' into my personal thoughts, assuming they would even want to. I'd either get the weird symbols or the file would simply disappear, and I have to admit that after about ten tries I finally gave up and went back to writing my journal in a notebook. Nothing else I did on the computer had that effect.

Be that as it may, I went through periods of time where I didn't have a computer, but finally got to a point where there was usually more than one computer in the house. Now, of course, it seems each individual person has more than one. We have our laptops and our desktops, tablets and smartphones - and make no mistake; a smartphone is a computer - I've written quite a bit on my BlackBerry, tiny though it is. Even the gaming consoles are computers now. We have a PlayStation 3, and it's connected to the internet. When my daughter's laptop gave up the ghost, she used that to surf the net for a while. It's not the best surfing experience, though, so she was thrilled when she was able to buy herself a new laptop.

There was a time when I had a callus on my right middle finger that was big enough to make my finger look bent. Now I barely pick up a pen. All of my writing is poured out on my laptop. It might be why I'm so attached to the thing. I use it for pretty much everything else, but still it's my writing that keeps me constantly hooked up to it, quite often just reading through everything that's happening and looking for more things to write about.

You see, even when I'm not writing, physically, I'm writing mentally. I've got storylines in my head, mixing in with the daily fluff. I apparently fall under the guidelines of hypergraphia (compulsion to write), but there are widely varying levels of severity. As long as it isn't affecting daily life in the negative, nobody cares. In fact, it affects my life positively, so I'm grateful to the compulsion.

Any real writer feels that writing is very much a part of who they are, and I feel this on a daily basis. Now that I've found more outlets for my work, I've become even more of a writer as my thoughts focus more and more on all the things I want to say about the things I see every day. It doesn't matter if those things are personal or political. Generally I've got something to say, or write, about everything, which isn't a surprise to anyone who reads my work or knows me on a personal level.

If I didn't have the ability to write, I honestly don't know how I would survive. I consider what it might have been like for me, had I been born in a time when there was no language. I'm sure I'd have been a cave painter or something. It boggles my mind to think of a time when I couldn't have been a writer. I would probably have ended up screaming incoherently and found myself bonked on the head with a club. I would imagine that's how mental illness would have been dealt with in those times, since prescribing Xanax wouldn't have been an option.

Writing is something humans have been doing to communicate for as long as language has existed. As a species we feel the need to share our stories - some of which are fact and some fiction. We want to share our own and the stories of others. We want to talk to one another without interruption. That expression, the need to share a piece of ourselves and a piece of others, is the very heart and soul of who we are. It's our connection with one another and with our inner selves. This, in turn, is how I see my own soul, if you want to call it that. I am what I think, and what I think creates what I am. Writing shares my soul.
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Rain Stickland is a Canadian writer with a passion for ferrets and a love for sentient creatures. She produces The Kovacs Perspective, hosted by Steve Kovacs.

Her professional background includes freelance writing, consulting, technical writing, procedures manuals, payroll and HR, investment analysis, and accounting. She owns a company that develops and manufactures safe pet toys, and donates the proceeds to ferret shelters in Canada and the US.

Rain's writing background includes topics such as stem cell transplants and feminism, and position papers on charitable organization development. She's also a staff writer for a popular online feminist publication. A crime-fiction series is in the works, as she continues to contribute to various online and print publications.

Follow her on Twitter @RainStickland

You can follow her blog at: Torrential Rain

Future articles can be found at: Soul of Wit where she will contribute articles formerly written for SearchWarp.com.

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