I remember the day my teacher handed out paper with lines on it. I took the brand new yellow pencil and started making lines and shapes and I still remember the new pencil smell and the feel of blank paper and the promise that I would learn to write.
I think I knew from the start that writing was an amazing ability, up there with reading, and that life would be so much better when I mastered those skills.
This article is for entry in the contest: How Writing Has Positively Influenced My Life. Hosted by Positive Writer. Writing this as my first official blog post seems appropriate because it is through the inspiration and encouragement of Bryan and his guest bloggers that I have the courage to break out from the habit of writing and stuffing what I’ve written back in corners where they will never be read by any other human being and actually post it here.
Some of my earliest childhood memories include my teacher reading the words that others had written, words that transported me out of a horrific home situation into a world of children and adults who loved and took care of each other. Clean home. Bikes. Spot, the dog. Words gave me hope and I would retreat to that hope and seek a place of security and love. Books, the writing of others, became a sanctuary from the harsh world.
We sat in the reading corner in my kindergarten class and the simple childhood books spoke to my heart that there were places and families and experiences in this world that were good, reading was a gift, learning was my choice, I think I asked the teacher every day when we were going to learn to read and write on our own.
The first sheet of lined paper and that brand new yellow pencil have not turned out to be a false promise, but instead a first step into the wonderful world of words, a world that fills me with awe at the power we have when we hold a pencil and paper and let our mind loose to connect them.
This is my attempt at putting into words some of the powerful positive influences writing has brought to my life.
Writing is a constant companion and listener, one that leads me back to the truth. I can get lost in my deep thoughts, become confused and negative and see no way out. When I write down my thoughts, and the facts, compare the two, I am frequently brought back to a place of reality. Fears either flee when faced up to or the answer to the fears reveals itself. I find control over the situations simply by writing about them.
Writing is a powerful, productive way to grieve. When my 5 year old daughter died I had no one to turn to who really knew what I was going through. No one could love her like I love her, no one understood the guilt and hopelessness and helplessness that I had. Writing, volumes of writing, allowed me to hold her near, remember what I wanted to hold on to, put in perspective what needed to be let go of, express anger and sadness without judgement for as long and as intense as I needed, to revisit when I needed. Writing also led me to the way out of the deep grief, to begin to experience joy and hope and laugh at the funny memories and to hold me accountable to my original determination that I was not going to become bitter from the loss. I truly believe that without the gift of writing I would not have come through the loss with the wholeness and peace that I have.
Writing provides a way to find clarity in my life goals as I work out all options on paper. I experience release from anxiety by writing my way out of situations. I find inspiring answers and options that my pencil reveals when left to find it’s way around the paper, or when my hands are given free range on the keyboard.
I am inspired as I write about characters with personality quirks and strengths and weaknesses that I would never act out in real life, but it sure is fun and freeing to give them free range on paper and learning from them.
When the pain of my illness seems to crush me and squeeze me and limit every movement I can write about riding my bike and the wind in my face and the strength in my legs and relive the Bald Eagles soaring over the river and diving in for fish and as I write the strength and freedom revive me, even if it is a false strength in a wayl
I am going to stop here and publish this. It is imperfect, for sure. It is incomplete, definitely. But the wonderful truth about writing is that no matter how botched it seems to me at the time I write I never walk away without receiving a renewal and a lift, along with a desire to live better.