on writing–the secret sheets

I think about Hamlet when, confronted with the death of his father and the hasty remarriage of his mother, cried out: “O, That this too too solid flesh would melt,/Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew.” Indeed, to translate such raw emotion into tangible words is itself part of the healing process.

*     *     *    *

There was a time in my life when, if thoughts, feelings, and emotions overcame me, I sat alone in my room, pulled out paper and pen and wrote. Each angry vent, each tear, each half-whispered hope found its place on the page, scribbled out tumultously behind locked doors. On to that paper went words never uttered, words and thoughts one would almost whisper even in the fully secure confines of the mind. Somehow, though, that paper was a safe place, and anything and everything went there, for the words were to be locked there in an impenetrable vault.

It was an amazing form of catharsis. And this type of writing exercise had a strange connection with du’aa, for it was understood that this written communication was not only a silent monologue with the self, but a form of silent communion with the divine, a munaajah of sorts. I am sure that fervent du’aas did even occur during these times, for in such times when one has none close by, behold, there is Allah, and prayers automatically are sent up. As Yaqub cried out, “Indeed I only complain of my sorrow and anguish to Allah.”

Those secret sheets of paper were truly safe, safer than one could imagine. After the page was completed, I would sit back to look at row upon row of taut, sloping, writing, and I would literally see the feelings jump out in the very slant of each letter. Until now, if I find something I have written from the past, something that had any touch of emotion to it, I can to this day see the emotions etched into the shaping and form of the letters and words.

I no more have these healing sheets, for after I was finished gazing over them I would slowly and deliberately shred them into tiny pieces and watch as they floated down into the trash. Their purpose served, I no longer needed them. And the fact that they were to no longer exist is what allowed me to be so forthright with my words in the first place, for I knew that true honest words would not surface on a paper that was to be kept and possibly seen one day by other eyes.

And to be truly honest, I no longer even remember the subject of even one of these papers. Their secrets were kept well, perhaps too well indeed!


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