Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Need to Write

I should have been in bed an hour ago. At 9:00pm after watching one of our favorite shows as a family, everyone headed to bed...except for me. I thought I was going to turn in also, but after washing my face, I knew I had something to do. I grabbed my laptop, turned off all the lights so as not to disturb anyone, and went back downstairs to the living room couch. I needed to write.

For me, writing, as I know I have said repeatedly, is a form of therapy. When I began this blog back on December 28th, 2010, I did not know what was ahead of me in the year 2011. It has proven to be one of the most challenging years of my life. I do not think I am exaggerating. I have gone through a variety of stressful and sad situations in my 43 years but never have I ever had so many unique situations to juggle at once. It has been tough but turning to writing has prevented me from feeling completely overwhelmed by it all. I have worked hard and succeeded to a noble degree in managing my responsibilities but there have been many a night when I have grown weary. Writing has helped me focus on all that is important to me. It has helped me sort things out and it has helped me make sense of my emotions. It has helped me stay strong for my loved ones and it has helped me develop wisdom in my interactions with everyone I come into contact with in my daily life.

Writing has been a part of my life for a very long time. I was a child when I began keeping a diary. The diaries I kept in my preteen years are hilarious to read now but even then it was obvious to me that I did not hold back when I could put my feelings down on paper. My diaries evolved into books of poetry that I composed during my teenage years. I then began and continued with several journals in my 20s and 30s. Some were private, some were shared with my husband and children, such as my family’s “Hide-n-Seek journal”, and others were kept solely between Eric and I. Yes, even in my marriage I have needed to write at times to express myself clearly. In my classroom I had my Drama II students write journal entries which became two-way dialogues when I spent hours responding to their ideas and reflections. I also enjoyed asking questions to get them thinking more deeply. I joined the Southern Maine Writer’s Project a few summers ago and began keeping a journal again. And when I began teaching Creative Writing, I happily enticed student writers to begin their own writer’s notebooks. Last spring I developed blogs for two of my classes to use to regularly weigh in and chat with classmates on their interpretations of course material and I continue to use writing as a way to check in with my teenage students when it seems they need help juggling their own responsibilities.

Making time to write is often challenging but it is an essential part of who I am and what I need to be my best self. Writing itself is not an easy endeavor to begin with, and of course I must acknowledge how unrefined these blog posts are when they are posted. But I am writing...nearly everyday. I am devoted to the craft.

George Orwell, an author I am intrigued by, wrote of four motives a writer has, in varying degrees: Sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and political purpose. He also noted in his essay Why I Write that writers are vain, selfish, and lazy. Well, I take offense to the lazy remark and I truly do not think I am selfish, but I think the other points Orwell made may deserve reflection. But that’s a task for another day. My therapy hour has come to an end. It’s time for this writer to get to bed.

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