A friend of mine popped by this morning for coffee. I’ve known her for as long as I knew Jim, our kids are of similar ages, and we are both widows. I had slept in, so it was the first cup of coffee for both of us, and my usual filters were not in place. We talked…a lot. About bicycles, about men, about our children, about men, about internet dating sites, about men, about rafting and other adventures, about men. She wasn’t aware that I was still writing. We talked about writing, and men. I told her that sometimes I felt that by writing, I was shooting myself in the foot in regards to men. Who would ever come near me fearing they might end up being referred to in my blog? She asked me why I write….and, more importantly, why I hit the publish button. Part of me still doesn’t really have a good answer to that question, but I have thought about it a bit.
I write because I have to. Yes, it helps me to process everything I am going through, but I could do that in diary form, keep it on my computer desktop or in my private journal, and perhaps it would serve that same purpose. Every time I hit the publish button, I think I am done. I think that I have run out of words. I think “this is it….I will have no more to say.” And then, something grabs me, in the middle of the night, or while listening to a song, or when making dinner for Jasper, or driving to a work appointment. It sits there….like a cancerous tumor in my brain….percolates and grows until I realize that if I don’t get it out of there soon, I will be unable to accomplish little else of worth. Hitting the publish button is sweet relief. Like eliminating the pressure on the brain by performing brain surgery. I can’t not write.
I like to hear people’s stories. I believe that everyone, at their core, is good. When I hear someone’s story, I am looking for that good, that spark, that piece of the divine within all of us. I like to hear of their struggles, and how they deal with them. Although this is my life, and I have to figure out what works for me, I learn something from every story I listen to. Because we are all interconnected, my path changes, however minutely, with every interaction. Perhaps my story will help another. There are many other widows who blog, and most of them are better writers than I. But, there may be one small detail, one heartfelt sentence, that allows someone else to have that “ah ha” moment when something rings true. It is then no longer my story. It belongs to the universe.
With the exception of my children, I rarely use names in my writing. Pictures are revealing enough. If an individual brings me joy, or causes me to suffer…I may write about the emotional aftermath, but the situation is mine. It lives in my head and heart, and is not for public consumption. I don’t have to change the names of the innocent, because there are no names. Yet, this blog is not fiction. I’m sure that there have been folks that have seen themselves between the lines. But, I don’t think that their friends and neighbors have. Words are powerful. I was little in high school…but was told after a rather heated exchange with my mother…that my words cut worse than any knife. It was my first awareness of the power of words, and I try to write by the motto of , “Is it true, is it kind, and is it necessary?” I would never slam some poor man in my blog.
So, I write because I have to, because we are all living the story of the human condition, and because words are powerful. And yet….they are just words, it is just writing. They can’t touch the beauty of a river, the joy of water slides on swim team play day, the love of Jim’s final driveway hugs, or the gratitude I feel when someone holds me when I have run out of words and I cry.