The Alchemy of Writing.


~ Alchemy: n. a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.

There is something that happens when we sit by a window, trees and blades of grass swaying, pen in hand, and an open page beckoning our depth to come hither. The page has no judgment, only unconditional love for the fact that we are fulfilling its life’s purpose: to be written on. Inscribed. Tattooed with our willingness to open and fall onto the soft place it offers to land on.

Writing is healing. It allows us to stream out, pour out, fall-on-our-ass-out, stumble our scrawl, or weave into the fibers, our silken fluidity. The page has no agenda. Only to be there for us. To hold us. To support us. To listen to every word we sing, scream, or stutter across it.

It was a tree once.

Rooted deep into the earth for us to lean on. It weathered all storms and it gave of its life for us to sit now, paper-thin, strong as bark to hold any amount of ink we dare to drench it with.

It does not matter if you are a writer. You are one just by virtue of holding a pen and placing it onto the blank space to fill with your longing, your innate creative being, your rage, your fear, your tears, your elation.

And when you do, alchemy happens. Emotions release, then metabolize. And what is revealed is pure and undiluted wisdom flowing from the marrow of bone, into the river of vein, and out the fingertips of your expression.

There is something holy about this. Gritty and holy. Like life. Like humanity. Like a scar that has healed.

Born into volatility, I had no way to navigate the level of trauma that eclipsed my life. No guidance. No support. It was not until a blank journal, back then a diary with lock and key, was given to me that I had a place to unravel, to tell my secrets to, to unearth the mounds of dirt that avalanched my youth. It was there that alchemy began to happen.

Every answer I sought and craved spilled out of my own knowing through the process of emptying out. It had attentive ears that listened, without interruption, to everything I said. It cheered on my hot tears staining its lines. It rallied my release, my unfolding, my discovery of self and voice.

Writing gave me its unconditional permission to spill, to splay, and as if by magic, to be empowered. And to know myself. Like no other.

And so it is, a lifetime of writing has been, and is, a continual current of discovery. A healed inner child. A woman swimming in the pool of her own cultivated wisdom. I owe this to writing. And to the chamber of ink, oh faithful friend. And to the page that never failed to open wide and say, “Write on me. Give me everything you’ve got. I can take it.”

And it did. It took my rage, my angst, my despair, my trauma, and churned that shit into fertilizer to grow myself whole in. Like a lotus. Growing out of the thickest muck and sludge with petals abounding, stalk strong and solid, and kissing the light of the morning sun every time it rises.

And deep in the roots of that, I found myself. And find myself. Over and over again. Every time I pick up a pen, I no longer write. Instead, I am… written.


Leslie Caplan is a writer because she was born a writer. Writing is a portal into her discovery of self that unfurls her imagination, emotions, and the skill it takes to translate her own complexity into a visceral language that can be understood. She is an editor and writing coach, with an innate and cultivated ability to take a writer from beginning to end, and everywhere in between. It is her passion and determination to do so with strength, impact and a tremendous amount of heart. You can find her at her website.


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