Why We Read and Write

We read to know we are not alone.
— C.S. Lewis

Read this quote the other day and wasn’t quite sure I agreed with Lewis. Then I considered his statement and on some levels, yes, I do read to know I am not alone (but not always.)

Sometimes I read for information. For instruction. For help in understanding a complex problem. For advice. For encouragement. For a reason to keep going.

I have lots of reasons for reading.

But, primarily when I write, I have one. For me, wrestling through a problem is often easier when I write about it. The putting pen to paper helps me clarify my thoughts (and in that process I always wonder how what I’ve gone through can help someone else.)

In the same way this old print box is filled with small reminders of memories with my kids, the letters and words I form when writing helps me think better by remembering events accurately and helps me communicate (to myself and others) what I’ve drawn from the experience.

So in some way, both the reading and the writing (first the writing, then the reading it back) do serve to tell me I’m not alone in my struggles and wrestling.

C.S. Lewis was right after all.

We do read to know we’re not alone (knowing we’re all alike on the inside is a great comfort in good times and bad) and reading other people’s stories sometimes get us there.

I like how author Cindy Crosby says it here —

Writing is a way I figure out where I’m struggling. When I journal through a difficult circumstance, or write through a troubled time in my life or about something that I know needs to change, the act of naming it and writing it brings me closer to resolution.

Me too.


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