Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

story urge May 31, 2011

I’ve been reading a book called The ABC’s of Creative Nonfiction edited by Lee Gutkind. The theme is there is a compulsion to tell our stories that goes beyond cultural and is actually biological, he says,

The act of autobiography forms in our frontal cortices, while the will to write likely lies in the limbic system, one of the oldest parts of the brain, governing not only basic desires for food and sex but social bonding, learning, and memories. We are the most vocal of the primates, and sharing the intimate details of our lives has many functions: the act makes us feel connected to others, alleviates stress, and makes us healthier. Writing about emotionally laden events increases our T-cell growth and antibody response, lowers our heart rate, helps us lose weight, improves sleep, elevates our mood and can even reduce pain.
(Keep It Real. ed. Lee Gutkind. New York: Norton. 2008)

So. It’s not obsessive to be writing all the time.  Keeping a blog is a healthy thing!  Some people jog. I write. I know I feel good after I’ve been writing, but it’s interesting to know that it’s not just anecdotally true.   They talk about the ‘runner’s high,’  but they don’t talk about the ‘writer’s high.’  We know about it though.  It fuels our writing.  What’s more, we feel it again when we re-read something we wrote that is particularly good. 

 What we feel is actually legitimate psychological response.  Good.

I feel so much better about not jogging now.


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