Today, October 19, is the National Day on Writing. I want to contribute my voice to this conversation, because writing is such a vital part of my life. I’ve been thinking about this for a few days now, and here is what I have come up with.
I write because it is the only way to silence my mind when it is jumbled.
I write because sometimes the beauty of the world is so big that I need to let it out in words. And photos.
I write because when I am sad or happy or confused or not quite sure about something, or even when I’m totally sure about something, I need to get it out so I can see what it is I’m actually thinking and maybe figure out a way to see it differently. I need to write all that stuff that is in my head to make sense of it, to try it on and see how it looks and feels from another angle.
Sometimes I write because the voice in my head wants expression. It keeps circling around and around until I let it out. And when I do, I find peace. Like that letter I wrote a while ago in this blog to an old friend (that maybe you read and thought, “Um, too much information…couldn’t you have kept that to yourself?”) and yes I could have but no, I couldn’t. It was circling around and demanding that I look at it and find another way to see a painful episode in my life. So I wrote about it and I did find a peace about the situation that had been eluding me.
I write to communicate with others. I send them emails, little facebook comments or messages and even little notes on paper sometimes. Well, not very often, and sometimes even when I do the recipients lose them (like when I sent my grandma’s old mink coat to my niece and she didn’t realize it was our grandma’s coat because evidently she lost the card I wrote to her on a cool colored paper. And put in a beautiful colored envelope). And then I wait to hear that the person received my message and replies. Even if they just say something like “Cool!”
I write in two blogs because I think maybe someone will want to know what I’m thinking about, and because sometimes I think I have something interesting to share, and sometimes because I just can’t help it!! I need to write what I’m thinking and if it turns out to be too much information, well then maybe I won’t put the post onłFacebook, but I still don’t make it private because I was too private for too long, and I really don’t mind people knowing what I’m thinking anymore. I mean, really, we all think the same stuff when it comes down to it. None of is is so unique that our thoughts would burn anything up. Well, not mine anyway.
I sometimes write because I think I have learned something that might help another person. Like when I try something interesting or new in my classroom and I think other people might like it too. Or they might even give me additional ideas that are related to my idea, except hardly anyone ever does. I crave communication, I guess, because I get so excited by comments that people make on my blogs. I even crave site visits when no one even responds. This week someone anonymous told me to try lime juice and jalapenos to get over my aversion to coconut milk. I was thrilled to be noticed and I’m also going to try the idea.
I used to write articles and submit them to professional journals and sometimes they got published. That was such a thrill. I haven’t done that since I began teaching middle school because I don’t think I am any kind of a good example yet. Maybe I never will be, but I’m sure giving it my best effort and when I ever do anything vaguely smart, you can bet I’ll write about it, either in my blog or an article. A book might be a stretch, but I can always dream of that.
I love a cup of perfect coffee in a cafe, with my Moleskin sketchbook and just the right pen. I sit down and just let it all flow out, and by the time the coffee is gone, I’ve written a few pages, maybe drawn a few little pictures, and I’m at peace. I can breathe again and go forward to whatever’s next.
Years ago I visited the Steinbeck museum in Salinas. There I saw a quote that went something like, “I almost always write, just like I almost always breathe.” That pretty much sums up why I write. It’s kind of like breathing, just something I have to do.