Thursday, April 4, 2013

When They Say I Have a Gift

"You really have a gift for writing," he said.

When someone tells me I have a gift for writing, I feel happy and terrible at the same time. Happy, because someone thinks I write well and likes to read what I have to say. Terrible because of what it's usually followed by, a question, and its answer.

"Are you still writing?"

"Sort of... I keep a blog, sometimes," I mutter, then proceed to feel even more terrible.

If it really is a gift, then I really am wasting it. It's spent on text messages, 140 characters comprising a "tweet" and Facebook posts which may garner a few mouse clicks from friends. And when I get around to it, a half-hearted attempt here, on my humble little blog, which may reach 40 people if I'm lucky.

"Well, life does get busy, especially when you're planning a wedding, and that's important," he helps out.

Yes, busy. Life is busy.

I nod, but I don't like that excuse as I roll it around in my brain. I should be doing more. I should be writing more.

Writing has been my life since I can remember. And not always the written-down type writing. Most days I just told stories in my head to chase away loneliness or boredom. The written-down stories were scribbled with poor penmanship and terrible spelling in my journals, and later typed on a 90s Macintosh computer.

Sometimes nostalgia hits and I pull out a journal or start up the old Mac to read bits of the past. I used to write about everything--families, aliens, a horse ranch, historical fiction, poetry, bears, and of course, my real life.

I miss those days. I miss having endless hours to create a story, lose myself in it, and surface later to examine the world around me for useable subjects. Anything could trigger an idea, anything could become part of a story.

Sometimes I still look at life that way, a series of subjects, plots, characters and settings. The pictures in front of me easily paint themselves into a story brewing in my mind. But just as quickly as they appear, they are wiped away by the real world problems of the day. Adult responsibilities usually take first priority in all situations. Work, meetings, meals, activities, they replace writing so quickly and effortlessly that storytelling is easily forgotten.

And yet, I always have to come back to it.

I recently told my mom that I usually find I can best express myself through writing. Anytime something big happens, or something important is on my mind, I start up my computer and come here. I type feverishly until something makes sense. Then if it is worthy of living, I click publish and wait. I wait to see if anyone else feels the same, understands what I am saying and why. And I wait for that feeling of satisfaction, that I created something, and didn't forget how to write coherently.

I long for those endless, empty days that I could fill with writing and creating. But even without them, I must press on, for the sake of my soul and the hunger within it, I must keep writing. Even if it is just simple musings, 140 characters or a story that never makes it onto the page. Perhaps one day something substantial will come out of all of this striving, something coherent and beautiful, a gift.

1 comment:

Pam Manners said...

Oh my dear, I can honestly and truly relate to all of this. You're the third person in two days who has written about this. I wonder why we are feeling this way?

Anyway, this is a GREAT post! Thanks for an open and honest sharing of your heart. You're not alone.


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