Early in school, we learn to tackle word problems in math class by drawing a picture, making a chart, creating a number sentence. And we learn to think out loud while doing it, by talking through our strategies with classmates and teachers, and recording our steps in a math journal.
Our world is full of word problems, isn’t it? Writing is a strategy to solve them. I write through to the other side, thinking out loud by recording my thoughts on the page. Most often, I’m not looking for a concrete solution, but a better understanding, a framework to categorize, a metaphor to inspire, a release from anger or sadness, an
awareness that I didn’t have before. Sometimes it’s just for entertainment. Sometimes it’s just to satisfy an urge, to scratch an itch. Sometimes, though, I really am looking for a concrete solution.
I also write to be part of the community of writers. My closest friends are writers. From interaction, of course, I know a lot about them already. But reading their words is such a gift, because I get to learn how their brains think, how they work through problems. My knowledge of them becomes much more intimate.