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Not That I Need to Tell You, But I Will

By: Madison Utley



The country at large seems to be taking the constant offensive lately or, at the very least, there’s a pervasive air of combative defensiveness; not that I in any way advocate engaging with a system so clearly fueled by fear and insecurity, but the friction has led me to feel a need to more clearly articulate to myself how I justify my opinions, actions, and life choices – my whole being, really.

While it may not have been born from the noblest of triggers, this internal exploration stirred up a great swell of gratitude for the way in which writing is a pursuit that, to me, virtually defends itself.


I say this for two primary reasons:


ONE – As a writer, all hobbies, passions, disasters, distractions – any form of living out life – becomes material. We are an amalgamation of all we’ve experienced, with each layer either directly informing or else infusing a richness into what we’re able to produce. Every day, every breathe, is field research: depending on how romantic you’re feeling, this is either the ultimate motivation or the ultimate rationalization.

The more deeply I invest in my craft, the more acutely my aim becomes to live a life so full it feels it transcends language – and then to wrangle it into words nonetheless. Experimentation and subsequent articulation has become my ongoing creative cycle which now seems to be fueling itself.

And, while I’m sure artists working with all mediums relate to embracing the many forms of daily inspiration available to those who seek it out, there’s something special about writing which brings me to…

TWO – As writers, we’re able to articulate our inner workings with exquisite precision. (Or, you know, at least well-constructed rambling). And fortunately, deftness with language only seems to sharpen with time, as we develop an easiness and trust with words only made possible through becoming old friends. This is incredibly freeing.

While the power to wield language in such a way as to silence the braying masses is at least partially contingent upon their willingness to be thoughtful listeners and relinquish their fighting spirit, the beauty is that being pushed to put into words what I do as a writer, why I’m compelled to pursue this path, and what I feel it brings to others (and more importantly, what it does for me… Am I allowed to say that?) has proven enormously valuable in developing my sense of intellectual self, and cementing the validity of what it is I’m most heavily investing in.


So, while there are infinitely more important things to do than worry about becoming more palatable to others or exerting energy defending what I know to be right and true for myself, I celebrate the self-assurance unexpectedly spurred by the constant prodding and questioning of a somewhat antagonistic world.

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