Thursday, July 17, 2008

Blogging as therapy

Scientific American:

(B)esides serving as a stress-coping mechanism, expressive writing produces many physiological benefits. Research shows that it improves memory and sleep, boosts immune cell activity and reduces viral load in AIDS patients, and even speeds healing after surgery.
My nephew and I had a prolonged discussion about this over the last few days, which he forwarded to his wife. She remarked how effortless we made the exchange appear, a quality she envied because she is not gifted with natural writing talent.

As I pointed out, we both read A LOT as boys growing up, and the love of the word can't help but rub off. I worked as a news reporter for 7 years and got royally bored with subject-verb-predicate prose. As I've said before here, boredom is the stimulus to propel my mind, and I started tinkering within that narrow framework to suit my creative urges. It's a little like the 8-note scale of music or middle-Eastern paintings. The mind is forced to be creative within a very restrictive environment, making for interesting interpretations.

The downside, of course, is that blogging is addictive because of the instant gratification factor. I find that I have to actually shut the computer off in order to get anything done (like housekeeping...guh). And forget about reading other people's books. I've got a stack that will take me years to finish at this rate.

But it's true: those who think well, write well, and vice versa. The two naturally bolster each other, and there is no element of life I've ever found that couldn't be enhanced by better use of language.

It makes us what we are.

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