I just this last semester and the semester before posed to the students, “What do most Human Beings want, more than anything?” Some would just as quickly, if not quicker than I asked the question, respond, “‘LOVE!’”, or “success… family… happiness…” But more than any singular word or idea, I heard “Freedom.” This made me ask them more questions— to define it, paint a picture of this freedom, and why ‘freedom’ over anything else. One student said you experience freedom in all the aforementioned. Then me, the instructor of record started to think about freedom and writing, how much freedom we experience through writing and reading, our studies… And, why freewriting is so revered by myself and other instructors in the compositional process. Writing freely does provide this abolition, but in no way is it absolute.
When we feel free, we don’t worry. We don’t overthink, we don’t fear, we don’t measure obsessively and excessively before acting. We just act, we just create and express ourselves without any worry and see more in ourselves that we perhaps did prior. Freedom, liberty, sovereignty, autonomy… pick your synonym or aligned word-idea… is something many around the world fight for. They take up arms as they’re convinced it’s something they deserve as Human Beings. More than being entitled to it, it should just be there in the picture. As writers, readers, thinkers, we should never feel chained or subdued, under even the slightest sliver of duress. We should continue our progress, our struggle for this liberty and abolition, and examine our characters chapter-to-chapter.
We all want freedom. We all want to not just perpetually live in a free state but FEEL free. The same is true in multiple milieus with art, writing or any other mode. To be free is to be alive, and to write and think freely is to redefine our own lives. When we learn, we should feel free. Even when we feel free, we should understand our free disposition and atmosphere so we can better understand it. And maintain it. Freedom should never be just expected or taken for granted or have anything to do with complacency. Why do so many want to be self-employed? Why do so many look forward to days off, or going for a run, or some aimless cruise along the coast, or in the Redwoods? They want to taste that consistency of Freedom. They want the picture… they want to be IN the picture. They want it. WE, want it. Need it. Will chase it. Should always be chasing it, even if we’ve attained it. It’s not assured, or guaranteed. And certainly, not absolute.
But, mind you, there will be work to get to this free forum, externally and internally. Frederick Douglass wrote, “Without a struggle, there can be no progress.” You should expect struggle. In the process of holding your liberty, as well as when you act within it. Again, freedom must be maintained and fought for. In the coming semester, I see an examination of Freedom as being an elevated aim of the class. All writers, in one shape or spectrum or another, tussle with the idea of freedom. As readers, we learn from this. How to acquire our own and how to avoid whatever strides to block us from it. Progressing toward our liberty is freeing to itself— having your space, your unchained and uncaged perpetuation, that merely continues the peregrination. Freedom is not a stop— It’s not a destination or dock. It’s a launch. It’s an invitation and lens. Then, we have another crossing. Then, we may be closer to our absolution. It is a picture, but the visual must forever be motioned.