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Monday, January 9, 2017

Window Wisdom?

As I write this, I sit at what I call my winter desk, my laptop on a table in the warm front-of-the house, overlooking our yard thick with last night's snow. Years ago, I sat at this same table in midwinter discovering the richness gleaned from a practice of regular writing.  Similar to the first time I watched a golf match on HD and realized the gallery was made up of the faces of individual spectators verses an indistinct blur, every day I witnessed details I’d been missing. 
We had some trees removed from our yard recently and my view form this spot has changed.  I notice a pine leaning in the lot across the street, its top branches caught on a towering oak.  Now at night, I see a light far off in the woods and wonder to whom it belongs.  For all I know these things have been there for years and would have remained invisible to me, if it weren’t for this shift in outlook. Our thermometer registers eighteen degrees, but warmed by the heat from a cast iron radiator I look out knowing while writing from this vantage point has become customary, it’s still possible to see things with fresh eyes.  

Across the street, our brand-new neighbor stands in the street shooting photos of his of his house after the snow, the first time he’s seen his home draped in white.  In my mind, he’s focusing on the same thing I am--how with a change in perspective, there’s always something lovely to see.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

IWSG January, 2017. Word Power

It's IWSG Day.  The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. The brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh, our brilliant ninja leader.  To read other posts, click here.

The holiday cards hit hard this year.  The wife of a former boss, informing me of his passing.  Another card sharing news of a childhood friend’s terminal illness.  An annual holiday essay I look forward to, in which the writer informed me of his own battle with cancer.  As the mailman delivered those cards, I also prayed for an acquaintance whose daughter was on life support, waiting for an organ transplant. The week before Christmas, the operation occurred which felt like a holiday miracle until the young woman lost her battle two days later.

Her mother is a writer and throughout the last two years of their ordeal, she and her daughter kept a blog, posts that tunneled to the hearts of their readers— soul-searching words to paper to prayer.  Since her daughter’s death, she’s continued to write profoundly moving entries veering from the absolute bleed of her loss, to poignant celebrations of memory.  “I’m going to keep writing these posts for as long as I need to,” she wrote in one.
I swear to you, each time I read a post, I feel how they provide some ease. 
Not for the first time, I understand the therapeutic powers of writing.  When my father died suddenly, the only way I could process that first lightning-bolt pain was to spend hours writing a eulogy.  Later, and while nowhere near as devastating, writing cured me when an unexpected job elimination from the place I’d worked for most of my adult life left me untethered and swinging.  Even this past November, amid the dismal political roil, I found I could only stop crying after I sat down to etch my emotions onto a page.

In his annual piece, my Christmas essayist referred to a book called Writing as a Way of Healing, by Louise DeSalvo.  According to the card writer, the author concludes “It’s not only the act of writing that heals, it’s the memories...Medical staffs term it narrative medicine.”  To that end, the essayist is writing in his journal every day.  Writing to heal himself.

For my way of looking at it, writing either produces hard evidence of the goodness in life, or purges that which is not.  Either way, it provides release. 

I confess, I approach this new year with trepidation. I'm guessing a lot of us do. So far though, I've used the words that form in my mind to pray for those who are grieving.  In addition, I keep  reminding myself.  Life to brain to keyboard.  The words we write have the power to heal, too.