When I started this blog, I really believed that I would hit the ground running. I planned to post once or twice a week and cover a range of topics that I inspire me. I would find my inner joy and share it here, hopefully continuing to find inspiration in the act of blogging and maybe even providing some joy and inspiration to others. I quickly realized that whipping out a blog post was definitely not as easy as I had imagined (and hoped) it might be. Having said that, I discovered that I actually do enjoy the process of writing. I wasn’t sure if I would before I started. I sat down one afternoon and compiled a list of topics that could serve as food for thought and I even had the good fortune to inherit a laptop which would allow me to sneak into my studio where I might close my door and focus on writing with fewer interruptions from my youngsters. It seemed like a recipe for success…but after a few posts, I suddenly found that I was doubting myself. I thought my tone might be too academic, my interests might not be shared by others, humorous anecdotes about my family might somehow offend them, my photos might not provide enough visual interest, my efforts might just prove that I cannot really write and that blogging had proved to be a mistake. And so to stop the dark thoughts of doubt and fear, I stopped carving out time to sit down and write…and time passed and that was okay…until it wasn’t.
My memories of childhood are a jumble of playing outdoors with the neighboring kids, 4-H club meetings, playing games with family, and listening. I was always drawn by the conversations of adults around me, often boring to a young kid, but occasionally my patience was rewarded with getting to hear stories that they shared when the kids were elsewhere. Stories of family members, those living and gone, stories of adventures had in their youth, stories of winter storms that threatened prolonged isolation and by extension starvation, stories retold true or otherwise about the demise of those who lived in rougher times and etched out a harder life than the one I knew. I remember finding this all so very fascinating and exciting! A glimpse into another world, like a living book.
Now that I live in the city with my children, I find that I’m not nearly as connected to this tradition of telling stories as I once was. In December, I found myself sitting in a warm and crowded room in front of a fire with a glass of whiskey together my husband’s family. I sipped and listened to his father and uncles recall stories of men they knew in their (younger and) wilder years. After a pause in the storytelling, my father-in-law mentioned that I might share similar tales from my side of the pond. Surely I knew some, but at that moment, I panicked with something not unlike stage fright. How odd. I’d always loved to both listen and tell stories, but now that the opportunity presented itself, I froze. I couldn’t think of any stories to tell. I suddenly felt disconnected – from myself and my traditions. They, of course, took it all in stride and continued weaving their tales until the early hours, none the wiser to my disappointment that I couldn’t weave my own. That moment stuck with me. It made me realize that the art of telling a story is something that is important to me. It made me remember why I started to blog in the first place – to tell my story.
I am quite sure that before I had children, the speed at which my life passed was steadily increasing, but there is something about their presence that makes the days feel long and the months and years feel short. I do know that if I don’t stop and reflect on my life, it flows by like a stream, long days blurring a bit in the flow. Does this happen to you, too? Once an avid reader, at the end of the day, I now seem to lack the ability to concentrate on reading, but as a student of language and literature, I miss the words, the vernacular and the stories. I have been feeling the steady and increasing draw of words – to capture the story of a moment and, in its telling, to pause and to savor the moment, resisting the unrelenting flow of life just a little. I feel a renewed commitment to sharing my story here in the hope that it will resonate with others and connect us because isn’t it this connection that matters most after all?