--to be heard. As I suspect with many creative people, there's a part of me that wants to hide away, and another part that wants to speak out for fear of being nothing and nobody.
--to tell you who I am. I heard once from a wise woman of the Mexican Quichol Indian tribe that the first thing to be done when a new baby arrives in this world is not to give it a name of your own choosing, but instead to ask it: "Tell me who you are." This lovely idea has always stayed with me, as a guiding principle not only of my writing but of my relations with my fellow beings.
--in order to tell you, I must first find out. Another yearning. It's a never-ending process, to explore that inner part of me for which I have been able to find no fitter word than "soul."
--to affirm my presence in the world, fleeting though it be, and no matter that the world is in constant change; to fix each passing moment. I had a teacher once who believed that the origin of Western lyric poetry is to be found in the Greek "inscription" poems translated famously by Wordsworth and Coleridge in "The Greek Anthology"--poems written in praise of the "genius loci," the spirit of a particular place, and inscribed on a bench, a tree, a wall... In short, a kind of ancient tagging, an early version of "Kilroy was here," but more sophisticated, more beautiful.
--to affirm some purpose and meaning in my life. One of the great lines of poetry that have stayed with me for fifty years and more is one written in a prose poem by the 19th century French poet, Charles Baudelaire, from one of the darker moments of his often dark life: "Et vous, Seigneur mon Dieu..." he starts, and continues in my own inadequate translation, "And you, O Lord my God, grant me the grace to write a few fine lines, to prove to myself that I am not the last of men, that I am not inferior to those that I despise." (I have always been a bit uncomfortable with those last few words. I still am. But to my shame, I confess that I do know what he means.)
--not to have lived in vain, then; to be worthy.
--to be "in touch," to be one with others, to find that one-ness with all beings that gives context to each individual existence.
--to make a contribution, to be able to feel greater than my own small self, to leave this world in some way different, perhaps even a little better, than when I arrived.
These are some of those deep needs that I found in the recesses of my writer's mind. I'm sure there are others I have not yet discovered, milling around in the unconscious part of my "realm of yearning." Do they resonate for you, my fellow writers out there in the world? Or do you, as I suppose, have others, too?