Everyone has a story to tell. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never left the farm or if you’re a world class celebrity. The life you have led is filled with events and insights to which others in this world may strongly relate and from which they can also learn–not only about you, but more importantly about themselves.
I have been keeping a diary for years. There are so many of them stacked in my cabinets now that by the time I am 100, and I fully intend to be, I will need my own library to store them. Will anyone ever want to take the time to read them–even my nearest and dearest? Maybe not. But that is not the primary purpose, which is to communicate with myself about what is going on in my life and how it is being handled within my thoughts and feelings. It is also a way to keep a record, a way of providing proof of my existence. Ultimately, it’s a comforting feeling to know that the past thirty-plus years of my life are at my immediate disposal at the mere flip of a page.
A bonus of this process is the realization that your mind is not the best storehouse of fact. Memories have a way of creating their own spin on events. Your journal has the capacity to keep you honest.
Writing thoughts on paper is a very intimate and private process. Assigning them to the blogosphere is an entirely different affair. It’s all I have to say for now. The rest of today’s thoughts go in my paper-bound diary.
The pen is mightier than the sword, they say. But there are other instruments powerful enough to forge a kind of immortality for their creator. In the case of my dear Aunt Florence, it was the beautiful canvases she painted with the stroke of a brush. Although she passed away recently after a long and beautiful life, she left behind all those incredible canvases—many of which found welcome homes over the years among her clientele, and dozens of which, courtesy of her heirs, are now gaining permanent status with family members and friends across the U.S. Something to remember her by, as if any of us could forget.
When I looked at the online gallery of her work this morning, I was taken by how much those paintings said about this remarkable woman, who was loving and kind and beautiful and smart and funny and wise and gutsy. Each of the paintings creates a unique world of its own, distinctive in style, and vastly different from the rest of the collection. That was my dear aunt, too—broadly dimensional in her outlook, and ever changing and evolving as a woman. So, it is no wonder her mind taught her brush to paint a vase of colorful flowers one day, a cubist landscape the next, and a darkly colored representational canvas sometime after that.
No one has written this beloved woman’s memoirs, although the story of her life would make for entertaining and inspiring reading, even for those who never knew her; and certainly a cherished, lasting record for those of us whose lives were touched by her.
Ultimately, my dear aunt did record her memoirs in the only way that made sense to her—in those colorful canvas images. And like Aunt Florence, they will enjoy their own brand of immortality.
Writing is something you do even if it is not your chosen profession, because communicating with others is a mandatory function of your being. Like breathing. And eating. And falling in love.
Writing as a way of life
I write anywhere, anytime, and anyplace that there happens to be a pen and even the smallest scrap of paper on which to scribble. First thing in the morning, I write by hand in my journal. Then, for most of the rest of the day, there is my well-used computer on which I type for hours electronically. On those occasions when I am out in the external world, I make sure I am accompanied by a yellow-lined pad and a multitude of pens, in case one runs dry while I am in the middle of committing a thought to paper. In bed at night, I have pen and paper no more than arm’s length away, just in case an idea crosses my mind that must be recorded immediately, lest it be lost in the abyss of sleep.
Writing as immutable evidence of life
Whenever you write about your thoughts and feelings, or record your life experiences in the written word, you are making a date with eternity and challenging it to carry you along on its endless path into the future. Your written history is your most sacred truth, and once you have committed it to print, no one dare revise it without also daring to revise the history of others.