Finding Sanctuary in Writing

photography of book page

As a teenager, I found myself meandering along winding paths of education and expectation. Fortunately, before I became too lost in the wild, untamed chaos of human society, I stumbled upon a peculiar and powerful refuge nestled within the cozy corners of my own mind. This became my favorite sanctuary, seemingly sculpted from the ether by the hands of some otherworldly muse. This haven was none other than my singleminded dedication to the craft of writing.

In my quest to become a humble, but prolific scribe, I’ve often been at odds with the tools of my craft. Words are both beautiful and cruel; when it comes to marrying them away to the capricious rhythms of my innermost thoughts, they sometimes flee with cold feet. While in my sanctuary of my mind’s writing nook I was technically safe, sometimes I felt threatened by some of my more uncomfortable memories and desires.

Still, at many points in my life, I would come to a place in my writing where I felt warmth and comfort. On some of my worst days, I’d sit down and put pen to paper, or hole myself up at my computer and type away as if my very existence depended on doing so. More often than not, I would find a place of contentment incrafting sentences, some of which would run on for long, blocky paragraphs, as I attempted to bare my soul in the only way I knew how.

I’ve navigated many hidden alcoves and shadowy corners, as I’d traverse the landscape of my psyche. Along the way, I’d unearth long-forgotten memories and unspoken emotions, some of which screamed so loud to be heard that it left me deafened. Each sentence, became a vessel carrying me further into an infinite universe where truth and fiction collide.

Inevitably, Life’s obligations would once more drag me into the harsh glare of reality; yet, my innermost thoughts and feelings still lingered in that sanctuary. So, whenever a flimsy pretext presented itself, I would wander off to scribble down my musings. On many of these occasions, I’d aimlessly sketch or jot down a few disjointed phrases. But, until I’d produced something that felt satisfactory, my soul would remain out of sorts.

Those who couldn’t understand my proclivity for mindful writing sessions repeatedly subjected me to agony and adversity. Even when I was simply being myself, I’d feel the scorching flames of animosity. Even worse, I would often find myself marooned in solitude, left to wallow in the murky depths of my own misery and festering, self-deprecating ruminations.

In my countless moments of isolation, my scribbles necessarily became my coping mechanism for struggles both within and without. Even now, after decades of expressing myself with the written word, I’m still uncertain if I’ve reached the elusive point of writing nirvana. I still feel the words I pen fall short of capturing the fullness of my intentions, leaving me in a constant state of uncertainty as to whether I’ve truly conveyed all that I intended to express.

There are still too many instances when my writing feels unnatural, stilted, or awkward. Too often my words seem to spiral out of control, and suddenly my writing takes on a spastic quality. My mind is thrown into a frenzy, with both hemispheres firing off frenetically, unleashing a deluge of words that are anything but coherent. The constant erasing and rewriting in my mind creates a vortex of disarray that threatens to swallow me whole. During these times, the dissonance between my inner and outer worlds becomes unbearable, sending me spiraling into a self-imposed exile for days on end.

I’ve always clung to the hope that the residual doubts and frustrations lingering from my tumultuous adolescence and early adulthood will one day dissipate. Who knows when I’ll pen that piece that enables me to break free from my literary constraints and transform my writing sanctuary into a veritable museum of literary masterpieces. So, I continue to write on, driven by a passion that refuses to be extinguished. 

At times, however, I wonder if the very nature of language imposes limitations that will forever thwart my efforts. But, I’m aware that my skills will always require honing, despite any accolades I may receive. My ultimate goal in life is to unearth that elusive balance in my writing where creativity flows freely and effortlessly, and every moment I spend writing is pure joy.

As I progressed in my adulthood, my writing sanctuary became my own personal Eden, a paradise where I could escape the clutches of the relentless onslaught of the mundane and decadent. For a time, my writing energies were focused primarily on fantastic and otherworldly fiction. Like a master puppeteer, I held the strings of my countless characters between my fingers, breathing life into their hollow forms and imbuing them with the essence of my own experiences. Through my crafting these stories, I found the courage to confront the specters of my past, and I could lay them to rest once and for all.

Regrettably, as I sought refuge within the world of my imagination, I began to have a lingering sense of dissatisfaction. Gradually, this  feeling transitioned into a gnawing sensation that my literary creations were lacking in originality and innovation. Despite their grandeur and limitless potential, my stories often crumbled under the weight of their own ambition, much like a stage set teetering precariously atop an unstable foundation, more concerned with form than function. 

Eventually, I came to the stark realization that my writing had become nothing more than an escape, a refuge from the harsh realities of the world, a place where I could simply ignore reality and replace it with my own. Over the course of several difficult years barely scraping by, I discovered a better function for my writing, to serve as a conduit for my own self-discovery. 

In rededicating myself to the craft of nonfiction, I found the courage to strip away the veneer of my carefully crafted facades. I learned how to gaze unflinchingly into the mirror and confront the raw, unvarnished truth of my existence. Through being honest with myself in my writing, I discovered the immense power and value of self-reflection.

As recent years flutter past, like leaves captured by the wind, I continue to find relief in my writing sanctuary. Through Life’s triumphs and tribulations, during times of joy and those of sorrow, writing is my steadfast companion that never wavers or fully falters. In quiet moments of introspection, I still return to my refuge, my fingers gliding across the keyboard as I navigate the ever-changing nature of my thoughts, hopes, and dreams.

Today, the blank page still beckons to me, begging for the touch of a pen, real or digital. In my writing sanctuary, I curate fragments of my identity; with each keystroke, I stitch these pieces together, creating vibrant essays telling the story of who I am and who I could become. Even when I’m unsure of what will emerge, I most often still oblige my writing urges, allowing my imagination free reign to unravel my desires, fears, and fantasies.

So, my dear readers, I invite you to join me on this journey of self-discovery, and find sanctuary in the enchanting realm of writing. Embrace the words, no matter what you believe they might say. The beauty you can find in the cadence of sentences, as they band together into paragraphs, is one of the greatest gifts of human existence. You may not realize it now, but within you are many stories untold just begging to be realized. Within the pages of our written world lies a haven where dreams and reality collide, where we can truly become the masters of our own destinies.

Have you found that perfect place in your writing? Do you believe that perfect place even exists? 

~ Amelia <3

Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy.
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