Thursday, March 20, 2014

Writing is what I do

I was thirteen when I first felt the urge to write what I felt (one night I simply had to get up from my bed, grab a pen and a notebook and write!). From then on, I never stopped.

Journal entries, countless poems, reflections that could have become essays, parodies, and (very rarely) ideas for a play. Never fiction (only with prompts in writing class in high school).

Studying literature almost killed all my writing, except for journaling. I did write a few more poems, even translated and "published" them in several volumes of an yearly journal from our department's undergraduate majors.

Then I started blogging, and wrote a 500 page dissertation, and continued blogging.

Published 2 academic articles (one of which I translated into Portuguese and which was published -- last year -- in a super prestigious literary journal in Brazil), did not publish an essay in this book (it's ok, it would have "blown my cover" -- ha ha, unknown little blogger that I am!)... and I keep on blogging. (even if it's not a conversation anymore, it's one only if you're really well known)

Why am I writing all this?

Because I love writing, in spite of the fact that I don't really do it well enough -- that's why (in addition to not having time) I never really got involved with Literary Mama, though I know several of the founders virtually and in person and I think it's a great site.

Not good enough.

But I don't care. I write for myself here and I write... tons of emails to my students, to friends and family. I write long comments on blog posts by my friends and also on status updates on facebook.
I can just write and write.

I write.

Because words matter.

I'm actually writing this because I'm helping organize a wedding shower. Helping is what I do even more than writing. Much more because it's more important. Being there for people is more important than anything. That's why, deep down, I truly don't care for an all-consuming academic career (though I do wish I could do research). Because I need time for people.

So, I'm helping organize this wedding shower as much as I can with my busy schedule. The bride and groom are close friends and today the bride emailed me (even though, poor thing, she's so incredibly busy in medical school). She wanted my help to write the Evite message from the wedding shower host (technically her mom, in practice us, her friends, in addition to her mom) and that's what she wrote at the end of her cute email:
p.s. I'm asking you L... because i know you can write :) well.
That really moved me and made me happy. "Writing is what I do" was my first thought. And yes, I'd like to think I write well, even though by some standards I really don't (and you write way better than me, J! And you too, Heidi! Not to mention my SIL who's an awesome writer, and writing teacher!). Unfortunately I don't have a gift for editing and rewriting and reworking. Maybe it's the ADHD, or the oversensitivity and thin skin. So I don't think I will ever publish anything, really. I probably "don't have what it takes" (but it doesn't matter, because I can help and love people and be there for them!).

After I wrote and sent the little "blurb" to my friend she replied with "you are simply awesome." And if that's what awesome means: being there for people, doing what I can to help (especially if it involves writing, or photography, or cooking, or anything, really), yes, I am. Thank you very much. I just hope I can keep it up. Forever.

P.S. it is really hard to hit publish because I'm keenly aware that this could be a much better post with much editing, but I just don't have the time. And I don't want this in my draft folder... oh well! And since I'm writing this p.s. I have to mention that I (again!) accidentally published a post that was still a draft (about needs & wants) and I hope to finish and publish it for real soon, OK? Sorry!


Rene said...

Awww . . . thanks for the shoutout. This is a lovely compliment.

I appreciate how kind you are about cooking and finding great food for me and how great you are about taking so many great family photos.

Heidi said...

This is one of my favorite posts of yours, ever. :)

I'm wondering if you're the only one who thinks you're not good enough? You've done tons of disciplined writing in your career, and that clearly comes through in everything you write, even when it's a more casual venue and not as edited, like your blog.

I for one am glad you didn't edit this post--it's so sweet and from the heart that it's not one of those things that should be edited too much.

So many times I've thought I'd like to do more with my blog or writing in other venues or whatever...and I am writing more often than I used to...but like you, there's a constant pull in the direction of being more involved in people's lives. Being there for people. And we just can't write all the time, or be too immersed in our professional fields, to the detriment of being there for people, can we? I can't, anyway, and it was so refreshing to hear you beautifully express it.

Thank you. :)

eulalie said...

I've been meaning to comment on this FOR FOREVER!! I've always loved that you wrote. Very few people can empathize with my desire, enjoyment, and NEED for writing. You are that person in this wilderness of... well, you know where we are!! :D
Loved this post. Thanks for your compliments, but there's no comparison happening here!