My mind just feels freer after I've written. My body feels lighter. My soul feels fed.
If there is something on my mind or in my heart, I am distracted by all the things I wish I was writing in that moment. Even if I am driving, or at work, or running, or with other people. It almost hurts me - in a weird way - to have to say to myself, "Not now. Focus on your job. You'll have to write later."
If you are ravenous and food is in front of you, but someone says, "Not now. Focus on your job. You'll have to eat later," that's what not being able to write when I want to (need to?) write is like for me. If you're not a reader/writer you are probably thinking the analogy is a wee bit over the top...and maybe you're wondering if I have all my marbles... But to me, that example perfectly explains my ongoing dilemma of needing to write yet not having the time due to those fabulous commitments and necessary tasks that generate income or constitute adult responsibilities.
And thankfully, words are not food, and writing is not the same as eating... so I can live a normal life. But on some level, I do feel like if I don't write in that moment when the ideas are dancing and the words are flying, I am doing myself a great disservice. It feels wrong, deprived, unauthentic.
I am one of those people who is always whipping out a receipt to jot down a poem or momentarily pausing in my day to pen an idea on a piece of scrap paper.
I have wanted to be a writer since I could hold a pencil. I recited the whole poem "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" to the animatronic reindeer at the Lehigh Valley Mall when I was 14 months old. The people behind those reindeer heads completely freaked out, breaking character to ask my mother how old her baby was.
They didn't know that my small, developing brain had already somewhere inside made the decision to become a writer.
I wrote my first "novel" at age 7, which was really more like 50 pages, but calling it a novel felt important and 50 pages was like a mountain to me at the time. I typed it on a massive computer circa 1990.
My "novel" was called The Secret Window and I dedicated it to my second grade best friend. And yes, it had a dedication page, because that's what "real" writers did and I knew this.
I wrote other novels since age 7 - some were actual novels instead of mere "novels" (haha), and always I took my work very seriously - not in a no-fun kind of way, but in a "this is my life's work" kind of way. Everything I wrote was my baby and by the time I was 17 I had at least 1,000 Microsoft Word documents saved on my computer (not the same massive computer from 1990). A handful of them were novels or stories and the rest were all poems.
Years later, this is still who I am.
A poet. A lover of words. A writer.
It took me a long time to realize that you don't have to get PAID to consider yourself a writer. I write to live. And these days, I write to heal.
My gift for writing was one of Rick's most favorite things about me.
I was thinking about my first "novel" today... The Secret Window...because this blog has become a secret window into my thoughts, my feelings, and my life. It is a crystal ball of memories, a goal list for the future, and a stream of consciousness literary work. Most of all, it's my survival kit. My tool to climb the mountain.
It's never work. It's just life.