On Stones Along the Way

I think it’s fairly obvious that my posting here is sporadic in nature. I’m a student, so studying for finals this past week took priority. I just finished my last final and now I can put away all the textbooks until January. Between now and then I’d like to write, maybe even every day. It’s exciting and terrifying all at once.

Many things have happened since I last worked on my novel. I’m so thankful, even for the things that are difficult. This past Monday my Dad had surgery to remove a nodule in his lung; they found out that it was cancer and removed the whole lung. Now he is adapting to having only one. Thankfully, he is doing well despite all of this. I’ve heard other news from back ‘home’. My best friend from high school tells me of difficult situations for people I knew and also for their families. It all seems so dark sometimes. I pray for brighter days for them; that they find the last fragment of light and hold tight to it. I know what uncertainty is like. I know what feeling inferior is like. I know what it’s like to stare at the sky and want to scream at the top of your lungs. I know what it’s like to struggle, to doubt, and to ask “why” a million times. I’ve been there. I see my fellow human-kind do the same.

In all these things I’m reminded of why I’ve decided to write stories. I’m reminded of the course set before me. I’m reminded that I am not my own. I have been given gifts. I have been given purpose.

The further in life I go, the more convinced I am that the job of the writer is to bring a commentary on all the things we humans fear too much to speak of aloud. We are to hold a mirror and let the reader take a long look. We should do this with conviction and grace intermingled. We should do so artfully, with syntaxes that flow softly and imagery that is strong.

No matter how hard we writers try, if we are truly writing well, we will be unable to separate ourselves from what we have constructed. That’s the danger of writing (and letting someone read it!); we write from what we know, or so I’ve been told. It’s a risk, especially for those of us who are far more eloquent on paper than in person.

I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given. I’m thankful for the dark clouds and the blue sky alike. I’m thankful be it in sickness or in health, in life or death, in pain or laughter, in depression or joy, in fear or security, in weakness or strength.

All these things are but markers on our path, memorial stones of where we were. When we can look back at these things and see that what was meant to harm us has been turned to good, when we can see that out of nothing springs something new, we see the world differently. We see people differently. We see them not as obstacles but as people with circumstances as real as our own. We see their pain and remember our own. And out of that we can’t help but extend kindness in some form.

As a writer, I can’t help but reach out through these strings of words. I want to reach out and touch the shoulder of the person who thinks they aren’t worth anything. I want to take the hands of the addict and the bitter of heart. I want to wipe tears from the face of the crushed, and join hands with the invisible.

All of these things I would be unable to do for others beyond my reach if it weren’t for writing.

I was once told to “write from what you know.” That’s exactly what I aim to do.

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