This Side of Life

I wrote this for my readership back in University. I had a following comprised of teachers and students. This is what writing meant to me then–and now:

‘This Side of Life’

The last issue of “The Log” brought you your first glimpse of This Side. The Log Lords must have approved because they’re letting me do it again. I thought I’d take this opportunity to tell you how this column was born and why.

Deep in August, my mind started sputtering, thinking about things I wanted to accomplish when I returned to Salem State this fall. I like to write. It’s a particular passion of mine. Writing, for me, is like sliding down the road in a convertible just after night has bitten into dusk—radio blaring—a warm breeze parting as it hits my face. There’s a sense of slipping into something familiar, though there are times I know I’ve never been there before. It’s a safe place.

Even in fits of worded passion, writing soothes my nerves and heals me. It collects my thoughts, sorting them into a focus that just mightbe, maybe, couldbe understood. It forces me to prove my point; it hopes to prove it well enough to involve you, the reader, and work out something we agree on so that you say, “Damn, I know exactly what she means.”

The name This Side of Life is my way of saying that I understand my view of a particular event is not always the consensus. This Side defines the issue from where I sit. You can sit wherever you’d like and still be heard. Issues can have as many facets as a diamond; each brings its particular reflection and is worthy in its own right.

We won’t agree at times. That’s not a bad thing. I can apologize if you prove me wrong, but I’ll wear a Cheshire grin while doing it. Disagreement means I’ve hit a nerve—raised an issue worth a second look. If that happens, I’ve done what I set out to do.

There are times I appear to dwell in darkness. My demons often emerge during the course of discussing an issue. Here’s hoping I can pull the demons back or weave them through This Side in a way that is relevant. But those demons aren’t always just mine; they are Jungian demons: demons of a collective consciousness. They tread on our lives indiscriminately, and if we don’t acknowledge them, they gain a hold that is hard to break.

So there you have it. The column was born in August. It serves my passion for writing. It hopes, at times, to provoke you, and it hopes, at times, to agree with you. I look forward to our relationship and hope you will enjoy it as much as I know I will.

Copyright 1999 Joyce Bowen

About the Author:  Joyce Bowen is a freelance writer and public speaker.  Inquiries can be made at

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