Catharsis Through Writing
‘National Author’s Day’ – it’s a day not known by many. It’s a day that celebrates the power of words on readers, at least that’s what French philosopher, Michael Foucault said.
“Who is an author?“
“Authors are creators.”
I am no author, but just like most of us, I too agree that authors are creators. Something is fascinating about the whole concept of painting a story with words. We often don’t realise the power that words hold. Some stories make you cry, some light up your day with a smile, some take you to a world far away, and some teach you a lesson you never knew you needed.
I found my passion for writing through the books I read. Suzanne Collin’s trilogy on the Hunger Games left me with goosebumps after every chapter. I felt myself growing up with Harry, Ron and Hermione as I pulled out each of J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I drove through the deserts along with the Valkyries in Paulo Coelho’s book, The Valkyries.
That’s what books do. They manifest the meaning of strength, resilience, humour, and so much more using words alone.
Writing is a form of expression that sets the mind free. There are no limitations or conditions of which direction your pen must move. It’s a beautiful form of freedom where you can recreate the world in any way you desire.
Expression, freedom and a million possibilities sound like ingredients that make a cathartic experience. According to the Oxford dictionary, catharsis is the process of releasing strong emotions and mental pain through an artistic route.
Releasing strong emotions that have been built up in oneself, in a peaceful manner, truly contributes to a person’s psychological well-being and mental equilibrium. As we dissect the beauty of writing, we come to realise that jotting down our thoughts, imagination and ideas onto a single piece of paper, puts us in a trance; a trance that enables one to be aware of every moment they experience. Psychologists call this practice “mindfulness”.
Mindfulness is a construct that has been in practice long since kings ruled the land. However, with light being shone on the importance of mental well-being, this is what philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche had to say about mindfulness:
“The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”
Spending time alone with your thoughts pouring into paper isn’t the easiest task. It takes the strength of being vulnerable with yourself. Often, people let themselves experience every emotion as they write, good or bad.
According to positive psychologists and mental health experts, the practice of feeling every emotion with acceptance, and expressing and responding to them appropriately, improves one’s mental state to a great extent. Writing is a channel through which an individual can reflect upon what they are grateful for, what they imagine, what they create, what inspires them — a zone of constructive vulnerability.
My experience with writing is somewhat similar to what I’ve mentioned above. I find inspiration within the music I listen to, within stories, experiences of others, and within a narrative of my past. Every time I write, I am in a state of complete awareness of what I feel and how I visualise a written piece to sound like once it’s done. It’s fascinating how art can be created with words and inspiration.
Art can be found in any shape, and anywhere — wherever its allure may lead.