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Writing Is Freedom

Writing is oxygen. The air I breathe. Writing is freedom.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Maya Angelou

WRITING FEELS GOOD. Not writing feels bad. I haven’t been writing much over the past six months. As a result, my head is stopped up. Writing expels the congestion, unsticks the sticky gunk.

Writing is my anti-depressant, my anti-anxiety medication, my no-cost, risk-free therapy. Writing is my alcohol, my drug of choice. Writing is my sex. Just kidding on the last one.

Self-doubt is a weird thing. “I am not a writer. I’ve been fooling myself and other people,” wrote John Steinbeck in his diary.

Trying not to offend anyone by playing it safe with words is self-defeating in itself.

As a writer of words, it must be known that once you release your words into the world, you are no longer the owner. The owner of the words is now the reader, who chooses the meaning. If the reader personalizes the words by putting on the shoe and the shoe fits, it is the shoe she placed before her. The writer did not hand her the shoe. She took the shoe out of the box. She had the shoe all along. She even had the correct size.

You should know this. It is important.

Writing is my oxygen. The air I breathe. Not writing is suffocating. It is swallowing spoonful after spoonful of peanut butter without water or milk to flush it down.

Not writing is disempowering. It is the draining of the spirit.

Writing is the blood in my veins.

Writing is freedom.

By Jeffrey Pillow

Jeffrey Pillow is an American short story writer, memoirist, and poet. He is the author of The Lady Next Door. His writing has been published in Urge Magazine, The Nervous Breakdown, 16 Blocks, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, TheBody.com, New York Times, Washington Post, and Richmond Times-Dispatch.

He grew up in the small town of Phenix, Virginia, population: 200, and now lives in Charlottesville with his wife, two kids, and a dog named Mozzarella Cheese. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he was a Rainey Scholar. This is his blog.

3 replies on “Writing Is Freedom”

I’ve always thought of you as a writer and illustrator since you were probably 4 or 5 years old when you and Jennifer wrote and illustrated your 1st book, MAD BALLS! I still have that book to this day because it is a sweet treasure from your childhood!

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