I have had several people ask me lately why I stopped writing. There are the usual excuses – I have been busy, the kids were home for summer, we have been too busy with the house – and while those are all true, they aren’t the whole story.
True confession time. I never stopped writing. I stopped publishing.
Writing is the vehicle that helps me make sense of my jumbled world. It takes my laundry list of anxieties and dumps them out in black and white. To write it, I have to organize it. And once it is organized, it loses its power over me.
A few months ago, I realized people were actually reading my blog. I was watching the Mason County Press grow in readership, and gaining followers on my Word Press site. People (Strangers!) were mentioning my blog when I would check out at the grocery store, along with other parents I would see at school the soccer field, the coffee shop.
Quite honestly, I just plain panicked. I got scared. I was suddenly uncertain if I wanted people to know what my kitchen looked like, let alone the jammed up conveyor belt of random thoughts that lived in my head.
I had gotten what I wanted – readers – then freaked out when they read my writing.
My favorite pieces of writing are the ones where the author bares his or her soul, because it sheds light on the human experience. Telling a personal truth, with honesty and integrity. Being willing to be vulnerable. Taking a risk.
I have always held the belief that the sharing of stories is what connects us. There is common ground between us all, and our stories the path to discovery. I truly believe it is how we get back to respect, common courtesy, inclusivity, create a community.
And yet, I held back.
It has been an emotionally tough year. While I am extremely grateful that my husband has a good job, my kids are healthy, our home is safe, and we have plenty of resources to keep us just short of spoiled, we have not been without our stressors.
The steady stream of contractors, the physical exhaustion from DIY projects, the transition to a new job (hubby’s) with a new hour long commute, and the daily round of constant chores has taken its toll on us. Our relationship suffered. I suffered.
I completely lost my center, and I wasn’t sure what I needed to get it back. And while I was still writing, I didn’t want the lady at the bank asking me how my marriage was. Or if my son ended up passing 5th grade Math. Or if I had decided to stay or run away to join the circus. And by the way, which anti-depressant medication did I prefer?
I know why people wait years to write a memoir. There is a need for the perspective of time and distance. We want the story to be delivered in a tidy package topped with a satisfying bow. No one wants to read about struggle, until the storyteller comes out whole on the other side. We breathe a sigh of relief and file it all away under “lessons learned”.
So the good news? I’m back. I’m feeling my way into this new reality of a commuting husband, the house is darn close to being finished, and I have a new project to focus my energy on.
Lessons learned? Tons. But for now, I am keeping those to myself. I need something to write about next week after all!