Why I Write

by marin mikulic

Imagine you’re in a desert and there’s an enormous green wall in front of you. You look up and to each of the sides. All you see is the green wall.​

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There’s another person in this desert some distance away. They see the same thing, only their wall is blue. The third person sees it as red, and the fourth as half red and half blue. As you can imagine, they all start bickering and arguing over the one true color of the wall.

After a while each person becomes so certain of their belief that they cannot change it even if they wanted to. They become terrified of the possibility of being wrong.

And so they bicker and argue.

Some kilometers away, there’s a writer sitting on a tall dune of sand with a journal and a pen in his hand. He opens the journal and writes a single sentence on the page:

“A multicolored brick cube sits in the desert and a bunch of people argue over it.”

That’s why I write.

It’s an exercise in recognising reality. A practice that helps call things out as they are, rather than as I’d want them to be. A lifelong journey in changing perspectives. Walking far enough from the wall that it bends into a cube and I learn about my illusions.

I write to avoid sleepwalking through life. To recognize reality. To open my eyes, you might say.

There are ways to do this other than writing. For some, it might mean long walks. Dance. Music. Conversation. Writing isn’t the only way, but it is my way.

I tell you this so that you might know what to expect of these Slow Letters. I’ve begun them three months ago out of sheer boredom. Boredom with Netflix, social media, political bickering, the chase after money, status, and the next gadget.

I’ve had enough of the walls. I want to learn to see the cube. Then, I want to journey the whole desert, the entire world, and into the great universe. I want to journey until the beauty becomes so great that even a writer puts down his pen, closes the journal and gazes in silence.

This essay is an attempt to find company on that journey.

I’m glad to have you here.

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