On Writing

Mark Manson’s “7 Strange Questions that will help you find your life purpose”

Three things in the past few months have been pushing me to write. First one was the publication of an awesome collection of short stories by George’s brother-in-law. When George and I spoke for the first time after it came out, his comment was, “You were going to do that.”. The second was the pleasure I got from the vacation updates from Greece. This article was the third.

I know why I stopped. It wasn’t some feeling of failure, or inability to think of what to write. No, my Faustian deal was that I would give it up, at least for now, because I wanted a life different than the one writing promised. One that allowed me to live as a normal human being, and not the miserable, nocturnal, dissatisfied fiend looking for the next high that I have been chasing since the first time I read a piece of writing I had just finished and was moved.

I buried that version of me in a shallow grave about fifteen years ago, after I had revised a book-length document to the point of being able to recite entire passages by heart. Some of the best sentences and turns of phrase that I have ever read are contained within it. (So you see I don’t lack confidence in my writing.)

I sometimes miss the person that wrote that book. But I also remember looking like a junkie, and probably smelling like one, too.

But as I read the seven questions below, they all lead me back there. Maybe it’s time to get a shovel.

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A little about how I write and think

It’s easy to find beauty in the beautiful. Beautiful people, pretty pictures, easy songs. I have been blessed with the ability to see it in the mundane, in the ugly, in the noisy corners of the world, of people, of my own soul, in the barely discernible outlines of sorrow in the eyes of the knowing.

The lover on the verge of tears the moment before her partner becomes invisible past the security checkpoint at an airport, and their latest separation becomes reality. The homeless person who realizes that this line of cars will be of no help towards their goal of shelter, food, or whatever their form of palliative self-medication takes. The child who appreciates having someone acknowledge that she has been through the worst thing a girl can go through having lost her father while she was his little girl, and he, her everything .

I love them all, because it is in them, and others like them that I see the strength that allows us to fall in love in war zones, forgive the unforgivable, and, in the ultimate show of hope, bring children into this world, even if part of me partakes of their sorrow and is filled with a sense of impotence that I lack the power to take that cup from their lips.

I wish you all the strength and the hope to never stop loving despite all the reasons that sometimes feels easier to numb the heart. The old hurts, the dreams unrealized, the wrongs not righted, the debts left unpaid .

( Well , that was a strange turn from what I was going to write, which was about noisy songs and almost out-of-tune pianos )