Thanksgiving and Homecomings

I found my funny again. I had lost it for a while. That’s a lie; it was longer than a while, for over six months, I stumbled through life not feeling funny at all. Extracting words from my psyche was painful, even more so because the resulting text was mediocre. Of course I still did absurd things like creating garbage tidal waves next to my house and calling complete strangers to say that I was debating the merits of raising amphibians in my basement, which are in essence amusing at their core. However while writing about those types of events, I didn’t feel funny.

It’s ironic because this particular change of season, from summer to fall usually brings about a kind of slow melancholy in me. By contrast, this year I find myself energized, no longer held down by all of the terrible events and circumstances which bound me for so long. Instead I sit by my kitchen window, smiling at the dying fall light, feeling thankful for all that I have, and finding life endlessly amusing. It’s taken a long time, but I have returned to myself.

It’s funny, in order to come back to myself, I had to let go of who I had hoped I’d be, and my deep sense of loss over who I was instead. In that slow forgiveness and acceptance of my new situation, my mental load lightened and I felt that sense of quirky mischief and joy of being in the world returning. At my core, these are the two qualities that define both my writing and my experience of life.

This wasn’t a path I walked alone; each person to whom I painfully revealed my difficulties helped me. This afternoon, when I bow my head and reflect on all that I’m thankful for it’s these people, who stood alongside me, who cared in their way, that I will remember in my thoughts of silent gratitude.

This post is dedicated to all those who find themselves alone and wandering along a dark and jagged patch of life without shoes. Keep going, there is light and a warm meal waiting for you.

Why Keep Writing?

Welcome to the sophomore slump. A year ago, or maybe two, three or four, you started your blog because you loved writing and wanted to share your work with the world. You were proud of what you did and had grand aspirations, however a couple of years in, it is becoming obvious that you’re not rapidly transforming into the next J.D. Salinger. With tens or even hundreds of posts under your belt and maybe even having dabbled a bit with National Novel Writing Month, you can recognize quality but are struggling to produce it. Life is encroaching upon your precious free time and it seems easy to cast your once beloved hobby aside in favor of cleaning the house, finishing that project at work or just hanging out with friends. The question which pops up is “Why keep writing?”

  1. This is what you love

You started this blog because writing was your passion. Sure you aren’t going to be the next Hemingway, but in the end, the person you should write for is you. Keep writing.

 

  1. Your words are yours and you are the only person who can share them

Everyone’s perspective is unique, no one else is able to tell your story, whatever your method of storytelling, it’s valid and yours alone to share. Keep writing.

 

  1. This is your outlet

That feeling of creativity needs to go somewhere; pen a short story, a poem, a fictional piece, a limerick, a paragraph about the Boer War, anything as long as it lets your express who you truly are. Keep writing.

 

  1. Real work, house work and even friends can wait

Jobs are important, but so are hobbies, take a break from that project. Use that fifteen minutes set aside for housework to write- you can sleep in dirty sheets for one more night. Remember the dirt hypothesis; you’re actually protecting yourself against developing allergies. No doubt your friends are among your readers so they’ll understand if you need a half an hour to create. Sometimes life can wait however that perfect paragraph will only dance on the edge of your consciousness for so long. Keep writing.

 

 

  1. Practice makes perfect, or at the very least makes better

No piece is ever perfect, but through persistence and hard work, taking the perfectly formed words from your head and putting them on the page or screen becomes easier.

 

 

  1. Even if you don’t enjoy what you wrote, someone will

My most surprising discovery over the past year and a half has been that the posts which I’ve hated, that felt forced or boring, received as many “likes” as those that I’ve loved. Even if you don’t like it the words you’ve penned, someone else will. Share all your words with the world and be surprised by the reactions you receive. And above all else keep writing, this is your passion so it deserves your time and care.

 

This post is dedicated to my friend and reader Natalie*, who patiently waited for me to get ready yesterday morning because I chose to write rather than get dressed for our outing together.

 

 

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of understanding people who make a point of telling me they like my work.