The Great Chase: Why Friendship and Joy-Chasing are Essential for A Life Well-Lived
In lieu of the increasing fans (like you), here's a new post!
I'm not really sure what to write. It happens more often than not, actually.
What really kills me, though, is how I'll get these excellent writing moods... all the stars will align and a hallelujah chorus will shimmer down from above... and then I'll get distracted. Seriously. And no, before you bring it up - it's not all social media distractions, either.
Life gets distracting. My mind just becomes all cluttered up sometimes. Awhile back, I was car-less and stuck at home. As a writer, and really just as a regular ol' human being, the ability to get out when the fancy takes you is essential.
I'm sorry Emily Dickinson... but no... I have mad respect for you and all... but still no. I guess what I'm trying to say is how I think really good writing is something which, barring a gift from fickle muses, comes out of life well-lived. Good-bad-ugly... but still life well-lived. What makes for a well-lived life?
I'm no Marcus Aurelius, but I think CS Lewis was on to something when he writes about
Joy-Chasing in his Surprised by Joy, and also in his Pilgrim's Regress. There are things you will find, uncovered within yourself - or introduced to you by others, which stir up a Longing inside. For me, they're things having to do with mythology, theatre, traveling, Autumn, the rain... It's funny, because a tell-tale sign you're probably on the right track to identifying exactly what your Joy is - the harder it becomes to say exactly what IT is. - Like those who have tasted of the magical food from Faerie... after you've returned from the Perilous Land, you're always left wanting in a delightful sort of agony. Lewis humbly suggested what we want is not, perhaps, the Thing ITSELF, but the chase. So the next time something moves you, don't try to possess it. Merely enjoy it while it is, as it is, and then carry on. Keep IT secret - keep IT safe.
Another thing I think lends to a life well-lived are good friends.
A man may be the poorest in the whole world, yet if he has genuine friends he is rich. Friendship is one of those things which lend to Life's sense of meaning and purpose. When you suddenly discover that the guy or girl over there likes the same thing you do... that same secret Joy... there is often a moment, whether spoken or not, where each thinks something like, 'What? You too?'. - This same thing is partly how I first met my to-be wife, Steph... it's how I first met my esteemed friend (and fellow author) R.E. Dean... Friendship helps make us MORE. A Joy we may have inside remains only that one Joy, but when friendship allows people to share a Joy... its like light splitting through a prism into a million new possibilities we never could have come to on our own. Shared Joy via Friendship is like staring down from a great height... we see all the twists and turnings which could have taken us higher up and deeper in - and all the other paths which could have led us on... but our Journey would have been radically different. Thus, WE would be radically different, in turn. What does any of this have to do with writing, though? It has exactly, precisely, to do with writing because when we finally do sit down and write, we are not just putting words on a page, but little pieces of us. This is not ink, nor mere pixels which you now read - but the confluence of hundreds of thousands of interlinking friendships formed over shared
Joy-chasing. Each word is not only my own - but also immaculately blended bits and pieces of people I've known and loved from all over the world - living and departed. And it's the same when you create something, too.
Whenever someone pours their heart and soul, time and energy - blood, sweat, and tears - into something beautiful - we see Life as Art. (Tolkien would call it 'Sub-creation') In all your Joy-chasing - happy hunting. Write on! Read on! - Ryan