Taking up space

“Where do you take space for writing?” begged the writing prompt. I had promised myself at the beginning of the month to journal more. I even paid for the advanced version of an online journal, thinking if I could type my journal entries, I might dedicate time to processing my thoughts. I really should know myself better by this point in my life; I do not always do what I know is important.

This morning, I actually opened the journal on my laptop, but then emails distracted me. Before I knew it, an hour had slipped by, and I had answered emails and moved onto reviewing teaching applicants in preparation for a meeting this morning. My journaling intentions had dissipated as quickly as my first cup of coffee.

When this week’s online writing community’s invitation popped up in my email, however, it gave me pause. Where do I take space for writing? Writing often occurs in my head, and the best pieces of my craft emerge when I am on my daily four-mile walk, listening to podcasts that affirm my untangling of myself, my journey of self-excavation. The passerby often glances at me nervously if they hear my verbalized comments to the podcast guest speaking in my ear.

Ideas swirl in my head, and often, they course through my veins, exciting me because words offered by someone else connect deeply with me or challenge me to think differently about myself – my experiences – my life passage. This unraveling of understanding takes space in my mind, and while many of these narratives never make it to the page, they occupy my thoughts, and ultimately, they nudge me closer to becoming a better version of myself.

I promise myself I’ll be better at journaling – at writing on my blog – at outlining and even writing a chapter of the book my mentees often encourage me to write, but the words I write in my mind’s eye are the words I need to digest. These are the words that take up the most space until they are absorbed by my heart – by my actions – by my reactions – by my vision for the future. #MakeRoomForJoy

I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #sosmagic

I am a Writer

“Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself that you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

13 years ago, my son came bounding off the bus and ran to me waiting in the car at the end of the lane. Eagerly, he thrust his black-and-white marbled notebook at me, and announced, “I am a writer! I’m not a great speller, but I AM a writer.”

As a mom, some memories are etched so deeply, they are indelible. This sunny, fall afternoon exchange between mother and son was more than a fleeting moment. For someone who fell in love with reading and writing as a child, this moment felt like a kiss on the forehead, a deep bow to the universal human connection through words.

You see, I, too, am a writer.

Recently, one of my writing mentors invited us to consider ourselves as writers, to describe our writing selves. Immediately, I began to think of the type of writer I am not. Primarily, I am not dedicated and focused. I write in bits and starts, often in the early morning when I first wake up. I have grand intentions of writing essays and books that unveil the beauty of life – the magnificence that exists even in the ugliness and heartache of it all. These grand intentions are reflected in the numerous journals and writing notebooks half-filled and the several unfinished essays and book outlines I have saved on my laptop.

But the invitations asked me to consider the type of writer I am, not my self-defined shortcomings as a writer.

I am a writer of uplifiting posts, for I believe words are better spent lifting and guiding others than wounding and tearing down. I am a writer of intentional tweets sent into the universe – hopeful one human will think a little differently. I am a prolific writer of personal notes – notecards sent to current and former students, left on the doorstep of a friend with a box of her favorite tea, or carefully tucked into a box of cookies and taken to the post office for someone I don’t get to see often.

In my own home, I have boxes of notes my family, friends, and students have written. Cards from long-gone grandparents with their careful handwriting telling me about their days, expressing guinine interest in my own. Handwritten letters from my parents, and numerous one-of-a-kind, handmade cards crafted by my father in his studio. Hundreds of notes, store-bought and handmade cards from students who have learned the power of words.

I am writing because I am a writer. Someday, I may actually write a book or have an article published, but then again, I may not. And whether I write over multiple sittings or whether I ever really finish a piece is not of importance. What matters is that I come bounding into the world eager to announce I AM A WRITER. #MakeRoomForJoy #SOSMagic

I’m joining an open community of writers over at Sharing Our Stories: Magic in a Blog. If you write (or want to write) just for the magic of it, consider this your invitation to join us. #sosmagic