THE TRUTH… IN WRITING.
During a family dinner tonight, my dad randomly turned to me and asked if I was growing my hair out. I paused, mid sentence and just stared at him – sort of wondering if he was actually aware of the fact that 1. I’ve been “growing my hair out” for 3 years and 2. that I have had such significant breakage in the front section of my hair that I legitimately look like I have a mullet. A few hours later my husband said something to me about my blog, which led to my (horrified) discovery that a draft I created nearly a year ago somehow triggered and automatically published to my blog yesterday morning. As my husband laughed at the evening’s comments, now understanding my confusion, he said “I thought it was really odd that you would publish something with so many grammatical errors”; a statement which sent me into a mental tailspin that immediately moved me to middle-of the night action, which required that I:
- Remember the web address on which my blog is housed
- Remember the password to access my blog
- Remember how to edit and create a blog
So here I am, at 1:00am, writing to you – or the currently 17 or so readers of yesterday’s post with apologies for my judgemental, disconnected, poorly written ramblings regarding persnickety, legwarmer-wearing former coworkers.
Admittedly, it’s a bit odd that I’m so humiliated that something like THAT (yesterday’s unplanned, unedited post) was published for – well, for the whole world to see. I obviously know that the whole world WON’T be reading it, but it just feels so… invasive. In many ways, I think blogs should be raw (well-written, but raw); opportunities to share thoughts and feelings and images that may otherwise feel overwhelming if said aloud, and I think I stopped writing last Spring, because that requirement… the one to be raw and honest and vulnerable… started to feel really, really difficult; and while words come easily, the art of crafting them into a story that runs like warm honey off the side of a spoon can require great effort and time, which is difficult when one is potentially struggling with a lack of inspiration.
Most of my life (after my childhood dream of becoming a garbage-collector came crashing to an end), I have dreamt about writing. To be able to put into something concrete the phrases and thoughts that flow through one’s head, meanwhile inspiring or bringing others to laugh or cry - is an incredible gift and a powerful tool… Unfortunately, however, most great (“published”) authors of which I know have either an immensely greater ratio of granola in their makeup than do I or have a significantly higher capacity for living with meager means for an extended period of time than do I… both facts which have sort of mentally inhibited me from pursuing writing in any professional or formal sort of fashion.
The serenditipitous occurence of yesterday’s accidental post and tonight’s logging in to at least correct the punctuation and grammatical errors is cause for me to consider some things anew. Literally moments before the conversation regarding my blog arose, my husband and I were talking about an inscription that lies on the first page of a book of Shakespeare writings I was given in 4th grade, which reads:
“Dear Joy, One thing that is necessary to become a good writer, is to study good writers; and no one is better than Shakespeare. Love, Pam & Rafe”
I have held on to this book of Shakespeare writing not for its content (the book is actually a publication from the 1800s that paraphrases famous Shakespeare writings into words more easily understood by children), but for that inscription. Those words, written to me, have been an incredible inspiration to me, for my whole life thus far to chase after my dreams by listening to and modeling myself after the greats… in any arena.
What’s difficult for me, as I type this now, and as I spoke with my husband tonight, is that the person who wrote those words, potentially without intending or knowing it, was writing something that provided a highway to running after that of which I dream, and now he’s gone. Tragically, gone. There’s hurt in my heart – trying to put everything together – trying to take even this and connect it with how I should study to do something better… and I’m coming up dry.
Loss is so abstract – its force is so great, yet it cannot be captured or held. Time goes, and is gone, and then it’s lost. Moments that are - instantly become were… gone. The look on a face, the sound of the voice, the opportunity to thank, to nurture, to be honest… gone – and despite efforts to grasp them with such intensity that our grip keeps these moments here with us, endlessly… they flit away, all the same, completely dismissive of our attachment to particular moments or times that exist before faces, voices, sounds become memories.
The truth, in writing, though, is that moments cannot be taken away or killed; once written, moments are made concrete through mere words – together forming a story, beckoning a sense of emotion. If poorly pieced together, words lose a reader and confuse the message, but if assembled well, they stir up a sense of ability, at times, of urgency, and follow their recipient through high times and low, a times a distant echo and at times a booming voice, urging us on to what must be the way.
I know that I’m now saying this too late… but thank you, Rafe, for putting that moment of inspiration into words, 23 years ago. I’ve held onto that moment – those words – for a lifetime; the principle on which they are based appears in messages to my children, my approach to my career and in all things personal: to become it, study it, linger over it, savor it – then go… and do it.