Sometimes the old standard-issue reasons for doing something, especially why you do your art, become, indeed, standard-issue and old. The more they’re recited, the more they ring as outworn and untrue. Hopefully, a new perspective on the why, a revision as it were, comes along and you see again with clarity why you continue the hard and often isolating work.
Recent discussions with a Western Slope poet and educator have brought me this sort of beginner’s eye regarding the reason why I persist with my writing. It’s not a new idea whatsoever, and it’s always been there, even if unrecognized and unnamed: I write to engage, be involved in, and expand the Big Conversation.
There are matters and issues about life which are central and important: love, relationships, community, integrity, compassion, empathy, openness, focusing, becoming/being whom we’re meant to be. Each of these categories is expansive and has a plethora of entry-points and multiple layers. The connections and overlaps among them are, likewise, numerous. Discussions about them are much of what comprises the Big Conversation—the nitty-gritty stuff at the foundational core of our lives.
In defining, vocation, Frederick Buechner said it’s, “the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” For me, the Big Conversation fulfills both. It’s what I most wish to be engaged in and what the world appears most desperate for.