A course of action. A call to action:
Writers write. So, write.
Write like the wind. Write as if your life and happiness depended on it, because it does.
Write wonderful stories (stories that are full of wonder). Write words of encouragement. Sound the alarm, comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable.
Let words flow, no, let words gush from your heart and your hands and your mind until you are tired of seeing your own voice, and then write more – more words, words with meaning, the words of your life.
Don’t worry whether anyone will read them.
Don’t worry whether anyone will hear.
The only certainty is if you don’t use your voice, there will be nothing to read, nothing to hear.
So, write – speak – shout. Get busy.
See what happens next.
If I were to write a song today,
What would I say?
Thirty, forty, fifty years on
and still dreaming,
still writing wistful words that wander
hither and yon.
Too tired to dream? Never.
Too lazy to follow through?
I don’t know if lazy is the word
as much as scared – frightened
not of my shadow
as of the responsibility to create a thing
that casts a shadow.
For fear of burning bright,
How many are content to sit in the dark
and stay quiet,
in the comfort of uneasy silence.
Perhaps this will be the day that I fly,
This will be the day that I fly …
It was April 15 one year ago today, in 2015, that I picked up this journal and snapped.
I had purchased the book full of blank pages at Hobby Lobby on clearance for $3.59 and started occasionally scribbling in it on Oct. 26, 2011. Through April 14, 2015, I had filled roughly two-thirds of the book.
Then I sat down on the morning of April 15 and wrote four pages. The next day I wrote two more. The day after, another two. Suddenly I was writing in the journal every day. The morning wasn’t complete until I’d scribbled something down in the book.
I got to the bottom of the last page on June 16, then opened the blank journal Red had given me for Christmas 2014 and started writing. It had taken me three and a half years to finish the first journal. It took me six and a half months to finish the second.
The point was not to set down finished thoughts but just to write, to clear out my brain by the physical act of applying words to paper. Writers write, a wise man once told me. And so I wrote. And wrote. And didn’t care if anyone would ever see the words or what they would think when they saw them.
Inevitably I wanted to share them. This blog has become a repository for some of that writing, but I never before shared any of that first explosion, until now. It wasn’t the best writing I’ve ever done, or the worst. But in the act of doing it, I became free to keep going.
Here it is:
I committed myself to 40 strokes. So often we acknowledge our pets’ existence for a few seconds and get back to our lives. But these are beings we welcomed into our house, and they deserve more than food and shelter. Attention must be paid!
Willow wanted to share the morning with me, and so I set down the tools of my trade and gave her 40 strokes – counted them out to myself – and in giving her comfort I found comfort and peace myself.
The giver receives.
The “tools of my trade” are a pen and a book of blank pages. I give words and receive sometimes acknowledgment, sometimes nothing. It’s not about the receiving. The receiving is in the giving: Even if never acknowledged or validated, the giving has told me something about myself.
The 40 strokes for Willow calmed my soul. The writing, the telling a story, the singing a song, helped me understand this world and my place in it.
The giver receives.
I suppose fame and fortune would be nice – or perhaps more comfortable – but the storytelling is its own reward. The money would be nice to receive, but the goal is to earn just enough to provide the freedom to write and tell more stories, because the pleasure is in the creation, the practicing creativity.
The tools you need are a pen and a piece of paper. They say the video game and the blockbuster film have replaced the novel as the media of choice to tell stories for “the masses” – but those take teams of thousands to execute the storyteller’s vision.
The storyteller with her pad and paper has all she needs. Yes, teams build her platform to be heard beyond her four walls – but it all begins with the story.
And the storyteller’s voice is infectious. That’s why a Joss Whedon film is different from a Zack Snyder film is different from a Steven Spielberg film, even though thousands made the film.
The song is told with a voice – a songwriter will want an instrument, but a voice will do. Records and other media were created to extend the voice’s reach – other instruments and arrangements and effects were brought in to augment the melody – but it all begins with a song.