now is a good time to panic

my mother speaks
10 April 2012, 12:26 pm
Filed under: life in general | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

So, my daughter blogs; she didn’t show a great deal of interest in writing until well into middle school. I suspect her lack of interest in writing related to her lack of chemistry with her English teachers. If she liked him or her, she wrote brilliantly. If not, she did not. The woman who seemed to influence and encourage her the most was one of my colleagues who clearly felt a connection to Katie because of our professional relationship and my own love of language. 


     I wonder what makes some of us writers; do we read revelations of other writers and set down our own thoughts to make sense of our lives? Is this what drives me to stop at the top of the bridge on my way to work and draft a poem in the early morning of a still full and brilliant glowing moon? Or send a heartfelt letter or poem of condolence instead of a Hallmark card when a dear friend loses a spouse or a beloved parent? For some of us, writing is integral to our lives; it is all chronicled for posterity. Two years ago, I wrote a journal entry full of fury and frustration over a monumental shift in policy at my workplace that caused everyone a great deal of frustration and grief. Later I could view this decision as the milestone of a significant improvement, a change in course that later made an important difference. I did not see the possibilities at that time, only the disadvantages. Perhaps we, all of us, must look back at an entry we scribbled off in the middle of the night when sleep would not come because a logical, rational explanation for an irrational situation eluded us. 


     I was at a book sale fundraiser earlier this week. My husband sent me with a list of topics: tools, gardening, alternative energy sources. I supplemented his practical list with philosophy, expanding my orchid collection and their care, poetry, of course. I picked up a literary analysis on J.D. Salinger of the Holden Caulfield and Franny and Zooey fame. I was a deprived child growing up attending catholic schools and did not discover this brilliant writer who seemed to understand adolescents better than any other until I was a freshman in college. It was my English composition professor who used Salinger’s short stories as models for analyzing elements of good writing. Until that semester, my first in college, my first ever male teacher, no English instructor ever indicated that she admired or even approved of my writing.


     Perhaps it was the time. Pride goes before the fall and all that. Maybe it was because no one knew how to encourage writers, grammar rules were stressed, boring devices like thesis statements and proper citations in bibliographies for term papers were stressed but never any collaboration, peer review, sharing of writing. In short, there was little joy in writing and little value placed on personal expression; especially if the sentiments were not shared by the instructor.


     Now despite the complaints on texting as an abomination of our language, texting makes writing important and the rules have relaxed to the point of being limp like a soggy dishcloth, and that’s OK. Because writing is no longer a scholarly exercise one reads and rereads and still doesn’t understand. The world writes, my daughter, son and husband write and so must I. How else can I know if I grow in wisdom, compassion and tolerance towards others if I do not write of it, examine the changes in my writing, and celebrate my gifts and the gifts of others I love? Writing matters. 


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