A professional writer asked me, a little while ago, “How do you find something to write about every day?” and my answer was “How could you not? Life is too interesting, especially when you look closely”. He then proceeded to read my blog and unprompted and unasked, I may add, sent me a long e-mail with his (not terribly kind) well written thoughts. And the funny reaction I had was that I that I didn’t much care – I knew full well that a 60-year-old professional writer who stopped writing years ago for a multitude of reasons wasn’t really my audience.
But today, on a lazy Sunday that is pleasantly stretching longer than usual, while mulling over a bunch of topics (I do really believe life is too interesting to run out of ideas) ranging from Michelle Obama to unwanted house guests, I did ask myself why I was still writing and letting my words be carried out there, for faceless strangers to read. Sometimes personal and sometimes fluffy, sometimes original and at times not so much, these words have kept on coming. Even on nights when I am particularly tired and the bed seems way more attractive than a laptop screen, I know that the moment the fingers touch the keyboard, they find a life of their own, even without my will. I might start a piece with an initial idea in mind and end up in a completely opposite or, at any rate, unexpected direction. It hasn’t been hard and it hasn’t been a burden. And it hasn’t always been good. As an inveterate reader and a lit major I know the limitations of a language that I claim my own now but that doesn’t fully belong to me.
The challenge of it and the connection I have established have been a tremendous amount of fun. Which is why I kept it up. It all started as a dare to myself, after decades of journalling – at a particular difficult juncture in my life, it became a different way to organize my thoughts, a therapeutic device which didn’t involve writing cheques to strangers I could no longer afford and to prove to myself I could indeed write everyday, between 500 and 700 words, should I ever wanted to take this endeavour a step further. I didn’t expect many people to read it, certainly not many beyond my circle of friends – I am not particularly good at advertising myself. Yet my friends stuck with it and then people whom I don’t have the foggiest idea of who they are or where they live started reading and every comment, whether shared on the blog or personally delivered, has been constructive.
Amongst the most meaningful was “I love the way you look at the world” from someone who has been nothing short of spectacularly supportive. The unkind comments and the argumentative ones have been particularly useful because I do love arguing, sometimes just for the sake of it which, I know, can be terribly annoying. The food blogs have been the most widely read, simply because they pop up in search engines more often than, say, this one will.
At the heart of it all, what I am trying to achieve is to make sense of the passing of time, of the ways to reach grace and contentment (am still working hard on the latter) and to share the perspective of a not terribly wise but terribly curious woman of my generation.
To recharge my writing batteries I have decided to send the blog on vacation for a couple of weeks. I will keep on writing but will start posting again on Monday, August 23. I will be getting close to my trip to South Africa then, where I am planning to post from, as much as wilderness and wi-fi will allow me to. In the meantime, happy Summer to all of you – or what is left of it.