Saturday, July 20, 2013

Return; or, writing is hard.

Writing is hard. Anyone who writes, and many who don't, know this is true. I know it is true, but I also know that it is my calling. Well, at least people keep telling me it is. When I talk about my life, my journey, my wandering through wildernesses, my struggle, people listen for a while, then they say, "You should write a book." In my dark times, and I have plenty, I imagine this is a polite way of telling me to stop talking. But, usually, I think, they mean that I have something to say. And that I should say it.

Yesterday, I was talking to a student who has returned to school because her marriage had fallen apart. Well, technically, it was torn apart and then crumbled from underneath her as her husband left her for a younger, slimmer, more successful woman. She was talking about how hard it was to get used to the idea that she just wasn't good enough, young enough, enough enough to keep a man who had committed to love her no matter what and as she spoke she was near tears. As we talked and shared our experiences she said to me, "You know, this class saved my life. Actually, you did. You should write a book, you have things to say, things that people need to hear." Ignoring her would be hard.

Yes, writing is hard. I know it's hard because not only do I dream of writing for a living, I currently teach others how to write. And they tell me, pretty much daily, that writing is hard. But, you know what? Being poor is hard. Teaching writing is hard. Having less independence than I need is hard. So, maybe, just maybe, writing isn't as hard as not writing.

When I was in my early teens I kept a diary. I poured my heart into it; sharing all my secrets, dream, and adolescents fears. One day, I found out a family member had read it. Not only had they read it, but some of the things I had written about were against our family's rules and I was punished. In my mind, I wasn't punished for sneaking out of the house and attending a junior high dance. I wasn't punished for slow dancing to Journey with that boy--the one that I would have risked more than being grounded for the precious few minutes spent in his arms--no, to me, I was punished for writing. And so, I stopped keeping a journal. But, I couldn't stop writing. I would write stories and secrets on scraps of paper then destroy them.

Life is hard. It is the lesson we all learn. It is repeated by children and adults this idea that life is hard. So, if life is hard, then writing about life just might be the most difficult task imaginable. But, again, for me, silence is harder. I try. I try to not write, but life is hard and I need to have a way to deal with the difficulties of life, and  more specifically, the difficulties of my life. So, not writing makes my life harder.

So, here I am. Full circle. Writing again, because it's hard, but because it's harder not to.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a great post, and I think it's a good example of why people want you to write a book.

    Writing IS risky, and some kinds of writing are riskier than others. I can easily point to the things that are cowardly about my own writing, and the writing I haven't done. So I love how you acknowledge this and also the risks and the difficulties of not writing.

    And I've really missed your blog, so it's good to see you writing again.