Growing up my sister was the writer of the family. I was the opinionated one. She used to have these little notebooks where she would write poems and other witty observations about the world. I was the commenter. I would tell my thoughts to whomever and whoever would listen. This got me into trouble on more than one occasion.
Even with my friends I would talk about my opinions about my family, church, and feminism. I remember when I was a little girl being disgusted at a wedding when they introduced the couple as ‘Mr and Mrs John Doe’. I immediately thought ‘hey why doesn’t she get a name?’ I was talking about this experience with a friend and she was surprised at how a young girl would even notice such thing but I did.
Megan and I used to make little newspapers where we would write comics, movie reviews and of course the news of the day. One of the editions I saved has a pretty good critique on the democratic primary of 92 and Bill Clinton’s performance. What 11 year old kid watches the debates and can gather her thoughts into a concise argument for fun?
I also have a persuasive essay I wrote around that time about how my mother is so ‘overly-cautious’ and ‘won’t let me do anything. Even go to the mall alone’. I actually turned that in for a grade. I found it and gave it to my Mom for Mother’s Day a few years ago. I hope I got a good grade!
I found some journals I did for a civics class in middle school where I railed on President Clinton and the welfare system and how people should be taught work skills as well as be fed/clothed.
It continued on to my high school years where I was involved mainly in drama and swimming but I still found ways to express myself. Mainly in debates with my mother. I read much of the feminist mantra when I was that age and my mother caring for an infant seemed far too backward. I’m glad she was patient enough to challenge my newly forming brain and help me develop more nuanced ideas. It actually became a part of our relationship I cherish most. We can talk and debate and challenge each other and leave with a smile. I miss it if we go too long without a deep thoughtful discussion on the issues of the day (I’ve pretty much come around to her way of thinking in the end!)
Then I started college and what do you think drew me in immediately? It was politics, particularly political theory, because theory can be discussed and pondered forever. There is no right answer to what freedom means or justice. You can talk about such things until you are blue in the face and believe me during those years I tried.
I also took fabulous classes including ‘theories on human freedom’ and the ‘political economy of women’. Both of them taught me the importance of words on people’s lives and how I must always find the heart in my writing. Whether it is advocating for the Lost Boys of Sudan or Speaking out against domestic violence, words should matter and effect the reader or they are just words.
Then there was the mission. I didn’t have a lot of time to write on the mission, but when I did, it was my salvation . I found a mission to be a very difficult and lonely experience. I lived off of letters from home and writing back. I have always collected stationary and I used up most of mine on the mission
“Life is like a great human chain. The point of the human chain is so no one gets lost. Everyone has someone in his or her life to hold on to and everyone has someone else holding on to them”
It’s not the most profound statement ever written but the point is I was writing and giving opinions even when on a mission.
The the journey of writing continued into grad school. I wrote papers about everything from HR needs and Economic policies. Writing for some reason felt easy for me in grad school. It’s like all the jumbled up stuff I wanted to explode out in high school had gotten out and it was a great time for writing, even if it was business writing!
I even became a pretty good editor at this point. Who knew!
Then I graduated and quit my job. All of the sudden there was a void in my life and what was I going to fill it with? What I had always filled it with- opinions and writing. That birthed this blog. I am excessively proud of it and it fills me with joy when people can feel my honesty and they feel they know the real me. Because they do. It is how I have always written and spoke and it has served me well for many years.
It means a lot to me to write. But also to write to say something, to comment on the world. I want someone to read my entries and say ‘I’ve had that same situation in my life’ and then we can bond and share and grow together. The world really is small when you can write and opine.
I’m so grateful for the many people, particularly in the last few weeks, who have told me that they relate to my writing and that it speaks to them. That means a lot because my writing is my heart. There is no writer veil. It is just me.
So my sister invents characters and creates worlds. I see the world around me, comment and create words. Both great. Both needed.
I’m grateful to be a writer
(in my own little way)
“I must write it all out, at any cost.
Writing is thinking.
It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living.”
Anne Marrow Lindbergh
If my writing can help someone else live better than this blog may be the greatest thing I do. I’m proud of it. Proud of each post whether silly or profound, and I intend to make it my legacy because it is me in full on technicolor.
So writing and commenting. That’s my way. Particularly in the last few weeks I seem to be phrasing issues in a way that people really respond to. This makes me very happy and I’m excited for the future as we learn and grow together. I’m excited for more writing!
Going to be interesting to see how that meshes with nanowrimo coming up. Anyone out there want to be my writing buddy?
3 thoughts on “Writing”
You’re so cute to remember my little notebooks! I was just thinking about them the other day. I remember writing such amazing poems as “Grandma is nice/She likes rice” in them.
I love that Anne Morrow Lindbergh quote. I think writing is so cathartic, whether you choose to pursue publication or not.
It really is great and so much more fun than I ever expected.
I think all families should have one kid with notebooks writing everything and one who stands around commenting on everything. Seems the perfect balance to me! (I mean basically Isabel and Nelle?)