I started dumping my thoughts and memories on paper when I was 8 years old and continued for years, on through high school, mostly in those little 5 year diaries with the flimsy locks. I ignored the boundary lines that were supposed to separate yearly entries...I sometimes used up several pages for one day. Sadly, when I moved out of my parents' home, I threw them away. Why? Why? Why?
I would love to go back and read the thoughts and perspectives of my younger self. But I was too honest - I wrote totally for myself with no intentions of anyone else ever reading what I scribbled. When I started packing up my belongings, preparing to move into my first apartment, I feared my boyfriend at the time would see them and read them. It seems crazy to me now that I worried about it...or that, if I was that worried, I couldn't come up with a creative solution. Geez!
I stopped writing for years. But when I met Tom, I felt compelled to write my feelings down again, and have continued to do so for the past twenty-eight years...first in pretty hard-backed journals, later in the kids left-over spiral notebooks. I started journals for each of the kids, too. Yes...for awhile I was keeping up with four journals. (Let me tell you...it's great therapy for a parent... "You were such a little fart today! What got into you?"..."One day you'll understand why we were upset when you didn't call and let us know where you were. We were so worried!"..."Today you gave me the sweetest hug and kiss...")
Anyway, as the kids got older, it got harder and harder to keep up with the journals. Writing had become a stress-reliever for me, and when I don't write...well, I get stressed. I can feel something building up inside of me. I get grumpy (Tom might call it something else...)
And then there were the letters. I used to write dozens of letters every week - cousins, grandmothers, friends. I was so good about making copies of pictures for everyone. What happened?
Blogging has been a way to take care of all of these things...sharing our current events and my feelings about them, all at the same time! But it was scary at first - what would people think? Would anyone read it?
I write for myself, but at the same time, I feel, when I'm blogging, that I'm talking to a friend, sharing what's on my mind. When I don't get any reactions at all, I start to wonder if what I'm writing is any good...does anyone understand it? Does anyone connect with what I'm saying? Is anyone even reading it?
And then someone will send me a message...like this one yesterday:"...I just wanted to tell you that you write beautifully and really need to think about doing it for a living..." or today: "Barb, I really enjoy your writing..." and "Your blog is indeed very inspiring Barb...keep up the great work." Just when my determination drops, just when I need it the most, it never fails that someone tells me they are reading my words...they enjoy my words.
Who knows if I'll ever make any significant money with my writing? I would love to, of course, but the main reason I write is to get my thoughts down on paper...to play with words...and perhaps inspire, entertain, or just connect with other people. When I get comments like these, it makes me feel like I'm not totally wasting my time...I'm not just talking to a wall (or a computer screen)...that someone out there was actually inspired, entertained, or somehow felt a connection to me, enough to let me know it. That's enough to get through a few more days, weeks, pages...
Thank you for taking the time to let me know.
"If storytelling has a positive function it's to put us in touch with other people's lives, to help us connect and draw strength or knowledge from people we'll never meet, to help us see beyond our own experience." - John Sayles Thinking in Pictures