“Yes, it’s hard to write, but it’s harder not to.” -Carl Van Doren
I have to write. It’s how I process things. It’s how I make sense of things. It is in the everyday situations with the every day conversations that I most notice my inability to process quickly. I’m always the one who 8 hours later goes ‘Dammit, why didn’t I say that or this or man, that could have been hilarious/comforting/appropriate’. My brain is not quick-witted. Witted, yes, I think so. Quick, not so much.
This used to annoy me about myself. Then one summer night years ago, I was sitting around a campfire with my friends. There was the normal campfire banter going on when somebody remarked how quiet I was. Somebody always remarks on how quiet I am. It wasn’t that I was not enjoying the campfire or the friends. It was not that I wasn’t thoroughly enthralled with the conversation. It was because I was thoroughly enthralled with the conversation.
You see, I am an observer. I enjoy watching others, seeing others. Often times, I have come to realize, I see more than others do. Not because I am gifted, just because I am paying attention. Other people fascinate me. Because you know what, people are all really odd. Like, crazy.
I love that.
At around the same time, I had started writing more. Just jotting observances down at first. Then creating a story, recording an event. And that is when life started to feel as alive and compelling as it did while backpacking, exploring the world. Suddenly a tiny, every day event like walking to the beach turned into a grand circus, a Macy’s day parade filled with characters and colours and outbursts and stories. Stories. So many stories.
Since then, I have always written. Some phases of my life more than others. Always with at least one journal on the go, often times two or three. Right now I have one in my purse, one by my bed, a gratitude one and one that floats about the house/car/stroller. Joy for me is finding a smooth, fast writing blue pen (must be blue) writing on a large, lined, soft-covered journal with a beautiful print on the front.
Right now 95% of my observances are about my kids. Occasionally I long for the days when I would walk down to English Bay and just watch. For hours watch the comings and goings of crazy people (which means all people because there is some kinda crazy in ALL of us!) But then I realize how fortunate I am to observe these two crazy girls full term. Funny, silly, growing crazies. The more I watch, the more I am in awe of human nature. Of our characters’ essence emitting itself right from the very beginning. Somehow projecting itself when the only other projectiles are of the poopy, pukey kind. Looking back at my journals from when Kaya was firstborn, Kaya has always been Kaya. She has always emitted joy, been highly empathetic and been introverted. Always. Since day one. I jot notes on Brennyn, knowing I will look back when she is three and see that Brennyn has always been Brennyn at her core.
Looking back, thinking back, I have always been me too. Even when I was trying not to be. Those gaps in my life where I have no journal, that is me trying not to be me. And those are the times I have been most lost too. Sometimes, like in NaBloPoMo when the pressure is on, it is hard to write. But for me, it is most definitely harder not to. Some people’s essence comes through singing, in art, by speaking, while leading, or with numbers. Mine comes through when I write.