The Most Important Thing in the World


Not to beat this subject to death, but there are days I wonder if I’m wasting my life, spending all these hours writing. Maybe I should be doing something more constructive, more meaningful, more helpful to society. Something with more tangible results, other than reams of paper filled with words that only a few people actually read.

Maybe I should learn how to cook. My husband would certainly appreciate that. Maybe I should get more involved in spina bifida advocacy. It’s a condition my daughter has to live with for the rest of her life, after all. Maybe I should do more yoga, or learn meditation, or, here we go, train for a marathon. That would be quite an accomplishment. Maybe I should try to find employment that pays more than a cashier job at a supermarket. So I can, you know, actually retire instead of work myself into a pauper’s grave.

Those are all worthy things to pursue. They’re also a lot of “shoulds”, and by now, I’ve learned to be wary of the word “should” in front of anything. But the truth is, my life is cut in into two parts: writing, and everything else. Not that “everything else” isn’t important. My family, my health, and just living life are important, in and of themselves, but they also feed my passion, which is writing. It’s a symbiosis. So yeah, it’s important.

Is it the most important thing in the world? Nope. North Korea won’t stop its belligerent blustering if I threaten to stop writing. ISIS will continue its carnage. Children will still starve in Africa. Donald Trump will continue to exasperate. In the scheme of things, my writing won’t make much of a difference to the world at large.

But in my corner of the world? It sustains me. Satisfies me. Delights me. Sometimes frustrates me. It’s not the end result of the words themselves but the act of writing them in the first place that allows me to continue living in this world in a fairly sane manner. I think that’s why art exists in the first place: to render meaning to the meaningless.

So yes, Mr. Steinbeck, I will hold onto my illusion, even though I know it’s not true. Isn’t that what we all do?




8 thoughts on “The Most Important Thing in the World

  1. You put it so well. I get that nauseous feeling when I go into a franchise bookstore. Nice comfy used-book stores are okay, but the big B & Ns and BAMs really depress me. All those damned books…books by people I’ve never heard of…published people! hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of books. Why the crap am I writing another book?

    Yea, Tina, I really related to this post. I liked your list of “shoulds” too. But, now I actually picked up one of them, and it has made a bit of difference in my life and most importantly in my writing. Meditation. I do it ten minutes a day. I sit in a chair in a quiet room and try…try to empty my mind of all thought. When I think of it, I ‘ll do this twice a day. It relaxes me, and I tend to write better afterwards. Sometimes when I meditate, an idea for my writing pops into my mind…I’m supposed to not be thinking but screw that. I store the idea away and move on…ha!

    So thank you for the meaningful post. Keep writing as I know you will. I think when I tell someone to “keep writing” I’m really just talking to myself. How pitiful is that? 🙂

    Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not pitiful at all, Paul. We need to support each other on this weird journey, as well as ourselves.
      Doing meditation is something that’s been on my “to do” list for a long time, and I know it would do a lot of good. I just need to decide to do it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this post. I’ve been having a mental wrestle with meaninglessness for the last few days, and it is nice to hear someone else giving vent to my worries. (I really related to your “maybe I should be…” list, by the way!)

    A conclusion I’ve come to (and it sounds like you’ve arrived at a similar one): I’m probably not going to have a major impact on the world. As you said, not gonna stop North Korea or ISIS or Trump. But I can have an impact on the lives around me. And, more than anything else, I can have an impact on my own life.

    SO, if writing is what delights me and helps me live in a fairly sane manner (to borrow your own words), then it is a worthwhile endeavor.

    Again, thanks for the post! It was a catalyst for some thoughts that I needed to work through as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes. You are in the place we all dwell from time to time. Remember that this is cyclical, and there will be days, when you proclaim “I am a writer”, that you will wonder how you ever spent any time doubting yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

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