Sunday, April 8, 2012
A Writer's Touch
I sat down this afternoon to sit and to watch a tape of one of my new favorite tv shows. The above quote was featured in the opening of the latest episode of Touch (season 1 episode 4 - Kite Strings). I sat up straighter as I heard the narrator’s words. The show revolves around the idea that "Everything happens for a reason, and the universe is under an imperceptible order that makes everything that needs to happen happen". But of course, on this television show, the central characters are making sense of the world by expressing how numbers might connect us as human beings. I find the show comforting. I know it's scripted but I still watch it to see how its miracles are called into place. I want such miracles to unveil themselves in my own life. Like the characters of Jake and Martin, I consciously follow the numbers. Only in my life, they are words. They are the words I write.
A friend said to me recently, “People think we want attention when all we want is for people to find joy with what we give. Keeps us humble, I think”. He was speaking of us as writers, but he could have been speaking also of any of us who engage with social networking these days. There are some people out there who don’t get why someone would want to share her “personal” life on the internet, and I used to be one of them. "I value my privacy", I always said, an echo of words I'd long heard others say. But a year and a half ago I took steps to begin a blog. I had a desire to write and to share my writing. I read up on the idea and scoured others’ online writings. I thought of what I wanted it to be, what I wanted my blog to do, and I questioned myself on why I felt the pull to "put myself out there". When I began I realized it was going to be a blog that attempted to show “inquiries, insights, and imaginings from a small town girl who wants to do some good in this life”, and thus, that phrase followed my blog’s title as a tag line of its purpose.
What I did not realize, however, when I began my blog, was how my sharing of such inquiries, insights, and imaginings would touch my readers. I have been indeed humbled by the attention I have received for my voice as a writer. Many have connected with my words and have expressed thanks and gratitude for my honest sharing. But some have grown worried and uncomfortable.
I asked my friend, a fellow writer, for his thoughts on the responses to this writer's strange mix of expressed introversion and exhibition. He replied, “Writers must expect a certain maturity from the reader. If we continue to feed the reader only nursery rhymes or iambic pentameter we are saying "You can't handle the harder things of life..." Some of life's rhymes are obtuse, a lot of life is more Grimm than Mother Goose. Let the reader decide what they want to read, the writer must write”.
There will be days when I write about life’s gentleness, of the joy I felt such as today as I held my daughter’s hand in church, thrilled that she, at the age of 16, still thinks nothing of a mother who needs to warm her hands inside her own. Or of how surprising it was to feel my eyes fill up with tender tears when I sang a beautiful song about Christ’s resurrection this Easter Sunday morning. And there will be days when I will walk through the dark valleys of life when exhaustion, frustration, and helplessness temporarily overtake patience and wisdom. It continues to be my desire in my blog posts to share and to reach out--to be heard? Oh sure, but also to help, to have hope that I am making a connection for the greater good. Everything does happen for a reason. And miracles do happen around us, everyday.