Yesterday, Liz wrote so eloquently about how much she loved to write and how it seems as though every situation--good or bad--gets filtered through her inner writer. She wondered if it was a bad thing that, even when she is in the midst of chaos and crisis, sickness and grief, the writer is still creating--inventing scenes, conversations, and scenarios. I've thought it about it all day because I truly recognized myself in her post (that kindred spirit thing we share!), and I've been trying to decide if it's something to feel guilty about or not.
Like Liz, as I sat in the hospice last year with my sister, Kate, I
confess I often created stories about the folks who passed by her room. I
didn't take notes, which I am wont to do too often, but snippets of
conversations, expressions, people's appearances, even words that I
probably had no business hearing, but did anyway because the doctor and
the family were right outside Kate's door, got immortalized in my
notebook later after I got home. I do it everywhere, watch and
listen--hospitals, doctor's offices, restaurants, the grocery store, in
the car . . .
I remember texting with Liz when I was in the airport on my way to stay with Son and Grandboy. It was really early in the morning, but Liz is a morning person, so texting her at seven a.m. wasn't out of line at all. I described some of my fellow passengers.There was the very old woman with the flowered cane who was waiting to preboard. She was elegant, dressed to the nines, and her lipstick was bright red--definitely a character. When I texted Liz about the too-cool guy in the black turtleneck and tweed sport coat with the ponytail, her answer was, "What's his story?" I didn't know then, but he's surely going to show up in a book one day--either hers or mine. It's what we do.
When writing is as necessary as breathing, you can't help yourself. And we shouldn't help ourselves or feel bad when it may seem that we aren't fully engaged in the moment. We are engaged, we're simply imprinting the moment. Not because that particular moment may end up in a story, although something like it could, I suppose. But more because when the time to actually sit down and write gets here, we need a deep well of words, settings, conversations, expressions, and emotions to draw upon to tell our stories. Also, writing life is what we do. . . even as it's happening, so Lizzie, never hush that writer in you, no matter when she turns up. She's why we are privileged to read your gorgeous and touching stories.
So, tell me, mes amies, does your inner writer kick in at times that may feel inappropriate? Do you shut her up or let it happen?
**The picture today is one I took in at the palace at Versaille, France when I was there with Son and DIL in 2009.