READ OR WRITE? HOW ABOUT RIGHTING?

I never “decided” to write.

When asked “what are you,” I never say I’m a wife, mother, grandmother — or even a woman. I automatically say “I’m a writer.” Being a writer is embedded in my concept of “self-hood,” if I am not that, then I’m not sure what I am. Writing was my profession, but I was a writer before I earned a salary doing it. I will always be a writer, and it has nothing to do with whether or not I sell my words … or even whether or not anyone else reads them. Whether or not I am still a professional writer is a different question.

Unlike other professions — probably this is true for everyone who makes a living in the creative arts — what you do is so much more than a paycheck. It’s the way you synthesize your experiences. It’s a compound of emotion, intellect, visual and physical stimuli, It is part of you as long as you breathe, long after paychecks stop coming and often, even if the paychecks never arrive in the first place. Writing is so deeply embedded in who I am that I can’t imagine not writing.

If it turns out there is an afterlife, I’m sure I will be writing about it.


A friend asked me why I do this, why I blog. So I asked her why she plays golf.


Writing is me. It’s the sport I play, the goal I for which I work. We do what we do because we love it, need to do it, or both. Writing is like breathing. I can strangle on words I’ve failed to use. My friend needs to compete, to be active and she needs to win.

I can’t begin to count the number of people who have told me they want to be writers, but don’t know how. They want me to tell them how. That they asked the question tells me they are not writers. If you are a writer, you write. You will write and will keep writing because it’s what you are. It is as much a part of you as your nose or stomach.

Reading is fun and I think it’s part of writing. It’s educational, and inspirational. It lets you connect with other people and places who never existed, possibly never could never exist. But that’s what writing is about, isn’t it? I know there are other ways to connect. You can Zoom, Facetime, and Skype. You can connect via email, telephones, even actual written letters though that has become a rarity, even for those of us who otherwise can’t stop writing. As long as there are computers, printers, and books, life goes on.

Writing can’t be replaced. Accept no substitute.



Categories: #Blogging, #gallery, #Photography, #Writing, reading

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14 replies

  1. Bravo. So very well put.

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    • I think for creative people, creativity is a piece of your soul. Whatever it is you do, it’s not something you “choose.” It’s who you are. I also think you don’t learn to write. You can learn to writer BETTER, but if you don’t have that need in your soul, it won’t happen. You might be something else as good or better, but creativity needs a spark, a gift — DNA, so to speak. You can learn to write a business letter and a resume, but a real writer writes. We can’t help it.

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  2. I waiting to read about the afterlife Marilyn. It could be a whole other adventure.
    Leslie

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  3. i totally understand this and agree

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    • I hear so many parents pushing their kids to be something they aren’t. I wish they would push less and listen more. There are lots of kinds of talents and gifts. Everyone needs to find his or her own thing.

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  4. Makes me wonder. Do we share DNA? But there are differences. Your profession was journalism; mine was the spoken word. You wrote from a desk; I spoke from a pulpit. You wrote no matter what; I spoke but often wondered whether it mattered. But the differences aren’t as great as they might seem. I, too, wrote from a typewriter or word processor days before stepping into the pulpit. My ecclesiastical tradition expects the preacher to be well-prepared, which meant I never “winged it”; I used a manuscript. I’m sure the congregations who suffered wished I had an editor or censor, but I couldn’t keep my mouth shut then any mire than I can now.

    Writing is your great gift. It leaps from every Serendipity post. Whenever I open your latest rumination, I know with blessed assurance that what I am about to read will be as well-written as it will be hones — and wonder whether the latest epistle comes from the sister I didn’t know I had. Thank you for sharing your gift. Grace, Love, and Peace be with you and Garry.

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    • I actually have a degree in speech and public speaking. Not so different. I did some public speaking and I’m very good — in front of a live audience. Not so great with a microphone, but if it’s a good interviewer and I forget that I’m being filmed or recorded, I’m better.

      I think I actually write better now than I did when I was getting paid. Probably because now I do it out of love and without a boss peering over my shoulder. AND without deadlines — except my OWN deadlines. I’m a terrible boss and never give me a day off.

      I wish we lived closer. I bet we’d have GREAT conversations. Garry too. Once he gets rolling, there’s alot of stuff there!

      Miss your epistles.

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      • Didn’t know about the speech and public speaking part of you. One more piece of evidence that perhaps we share DNA?

        You are a superb writer, Marilyn; that’s a gift honed by skill, but first it’s a GIFT — it’s who you are before you do a thing. No need for a boss!

        Regarding my own attempts, my confidence that anything I’m thinking or feeling is worth sharing remains low,. but to say nothing is to be complicit. I just watched David Brooks’s virtual sermon from the Washington Cathedral. The transformation of David Brooks from the conservative GOP side of the aisle to the middle and to being a public turncoat is worth its weight in gold. If you and Garry haven’t seen and heard that sermon (14 minutes), I suspect it would bring some rays of beauty to you, as it did to me. Be well. Beauty will survive.

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  5. “What you do is so much more than a paycheck.”

    Yup, that rings so true, and ironically, the people who pay attention to their craft more than the money actually end up earning more than the average writer anyway. Thanks for sharing!

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    • I would have made more money had I not been a girl. I helped get a number of less qualified men hired and they ALL made more money than me. Pissed me off then and still does, but since I no longer get paid except by Social Security, we are finally NOW all equally underpaid.

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  6. I have many hobbies, all of which I enjoy… but top of the list is writing, closely followed by reading…

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