Madwoman in the Attic
How is it that behavior that appears madness in others' minds is for myself an attempt to reclaim sanity? The time I have available to write is first thing in the morning, which means getting up at five or earlier. True, I can't always convince myself that writing is more important than sleep, but once in my conscious state, I realize that writing's importance ranks somewhere close to that of sleep in helping to stave off an inability to cope with the demands of life. For, as Donald Murray expresses in his essay "What--and How--to Write When You Have No Time,"I find
[t]he less time I have for writing, the more important it is that I write. Writing gives me a necessary calm, what Robert Frost called "a momentary stay against confusion." Writing slows down the rush of life, forcing awareness and reflection. As writing increases my awareness, language clarifies that vision. What is vague and general becomes concrete and specific as I find the words. These words connect with other words in phrase and sentence, placing the immediate experience in the context of my life. I read the story of my life by writing it. I also receive the gift of concentration and escape the swirling problems of my life as I follow paragraph and page toward meaning.