Finding the Purpose

Upon reading a recent post where I discussed pens and an old friend from high school, my sister Lauren pointed out her wish for a broader why? in the writing.

“As it stands,” she said, “it’s warm and innocent and beautiful.” Stop it, I’m blushing.

“But if I had a wish,” she went went on, “I’d love to read this with a little more about the why’s, the lessons, or a parallel into some other life truth or something weaved in.”

Well. Yes, she’s right. In writing, I so often find myself stopping at my original thought. But this often leaves my writing feeling unfinished, without depth. When I finish my original thought, I need to stop and think how does this connect to broader life? Why does this matter?

This is something that Hank and John Green do beautifully in the weekly videos on their Vlogbrothers YouTube channel.

Hank even describes this phenomenon at 2:55 in this lovely video about arbitrary human design.

And just for fun, here is another Vlogbrothers video, made by John this time. It’s one of my favorites.

I think the thoughts bouncing around in my head at present can be summed up in the words purpose and meaning. That’s what I feel I’m often missing in my work.

What is the purpose of this story? Of this drawing? The meaning of this video? What am I hoping for friends and folks to get out of this thing I’m making? If it is simply beauty, then great. But there is often more room than I think for deeper purpose and beauty to live side by side.

That’s something I’m trying to learn right now. How to infuse purpose and meaning.

Those are very abstract words that do not lend themselves to a very tangible goal, but I will work on reducing the thought down in the stew pot of my mind to a more understandable objective.

2 Replies to “Finding the Purpose”

  1. I’m honored to be mentioned, glad to be formally introduced to the Green brothers, and quite touched by the broccoli tree parable.

    Good post. I love this: “What am I hoping for friends and folks to get out of this thing I’m making? If it is simply beauty, then great. But there is often more room than I think for deeper purpose and beauty to live side by side.” Yes. Beauty, for beauty’s sake alone, is one of our highest callings and most vital guideposts as humans in my humble opinion. But infuse beauty with purpose and purpose with beauty and you’ve got dynamite.

    -LS

  2. For what it’s worth, I enjoy having a resource (your blog) that’s full of a lot of nuggets of warm life, even if the “purpose and meaning” have to be stitched together by the reader. It’s almost a fishing pole, rather than a fish, when you give us some observations or make some connections and force the reader to transpose that into their daily routine/perspective. So go ahead and write as deeply as you want, but I’m here for the snippets of curiosity, “incomplete” as they may be.

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