When I was 17, I assumed that even if I wasn’t rich and famous by age 21, I’d at least have life figured out.
I’m a lot older than 21 now. Life’s journey contains more hills and valleys than I anticipated. I expected that, at my stage of life, I’d have an empty nest and plenty of time to write and create. I’ve done my share of laundry and attended my share of class plays.
But we put my 90-year-old father in the hospital last week due to general weakness. We’re moving my in-laws to our town because a stroke and macular degeneration have made them needy. I chauffeur four parents to appointments.
We have 6 grandchildren under age 6 – all excited to visit our hobby farm. They are too young to explore alone yet so we take walks to examine mounds of dirt, butterflies, and rocks. We sometimes have to see how far those rocks will fly and whether we can hit the crop-duster overhead.
Oh, yeah, and I need to write.
But this is the life of a writer. Life wraps its warm arms around us while we interact and observe and analyze. People matter and I’m gathering stories every day.
But it’s even more important right now that I’m making stories.
Why do I write? It’s a cliche to say, "because I can’t not write." That’s a true statement but I want to dig a little deeper.
I write to create a world to explore and people to meet. I finished one novel only because I liked the main character so much I couldn’t leave her hanging literally at the end of a chapter.
I write to discover meaning. When I’m confused or puzzled about something, I sit down at the keyboard and start writing. In the stream of consciousness comes ideas and connections I hadn’t seen before.
I write to connect my thoughts with other people. I want to connect and writing handles the job better sometimes than speaking. I’ve said some disjointed things that would have been clearer if written.
I write because I love words. I love the music of alliteration, the rhythm of sentences, the magic of a well-turned phrase. I don’t hit that goal all the time but there’s zest in the trying.
I write because I like to read. I read my stuff and I read other texts. Then ideas come and what do you do with ideas? Start writing.
All this, I think, boils down to the cliche. I write because I can’t stop.
When McKayla Maroney landed on her backside during the vault that was supposed to win her a gold medal in women’s gymnastics competition at this year’s Olympics in London, I sympathized. I’m a writer. I understand the ache of failure, especially when it is unexpected.
Writers deal with failure. We submit our work only to face rejection. Or worse. We pour our hearts into a story only to see it refuse to polish to the sheen we need. We compare and complain.
Am I passionate enough to be a writer? Can I fall on my backside and get up to cheer on another writer who sold her novel? Can I push through when others pull back?
My failures don’t define me. Tomorrow is another opportunity.
I am a writer, a photographer, a videographer, a teacher and much more. I am very curious and I love to learn. This blog will contain snippets of what I’m learning and also my thoughts on what I read and see.
As a writer, my goal is to discover meaning in chaos. We live in a jumbled world. Many opinions blast us moment by moment. Colors, images, noises, smells – we are in sensory overload as well.
But there is meaning to be found. I’m confident of that.
The current plan for me is to post three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Join me on this journey of discovery.