Write It Down, Don’t Think It Up

I’m reading and working through Julia Cameron’s book The Right to Write. Her chapter titled “This Writing Life” makes so much sense to me…but it’s tripping me up. You see I’m about 50 years behind on the write-it-down edict. I didn’t journal faithfully through my youth or my young adult life, and I don’t journal faithfully now. Or at least I don’t think I do. But if that’s true, if I haven’t written over the years, why do I have, like, 15 notebooks filled page after page with my musings, rants, prayers, and prose? Why are there files and folders on my laptop filled with compositions, essays, articles, and devotionals? Why am I believing I haven’t written, don’t write enough, and it’s too late for me to become a writer? I am a writer…even if I stink at blogging.

I began blogging in 2005 when my third son, Adam, was going off to war. In 1998 he signed up to serve in the military and get some assistance with college tuition. Our country was at peace with the rest of the world at that time. Then in 2001, 9-11 happened. As a reserve commissioned officer he was called up right after graduation. Adam began his own blog for the purpose of figuring out and remembering his life. Those were the days when people asked, “What’s a blog?”. It’s a log kept on a website, a weblog. A blog is your own personal journal… posted online for all the world to see. And anyone, absolutely anyone can blog. Isn’t that a great thing? I mean, what could possibly go wrong? But that’s another post for another day!

Adam helped me start a blog and showed me the ropes so I could make posts for him to read while stationed in Iraq. A taste of home, family news and updates, and pictures to keep us tethered. I posted often. I posted for an audience of one, but in reality had a large family following. Friends and family read my blog where I offered a glimpse into our lives here in northwest PA. But I lived for Adam’s blogs in those days. They were a lifeline to us, a guarded peek into the goings on of military maneuvers and daily life in FOBs (Forward Operating Base). His posts served as a meter for us to rest easy or pray harder. Little did we know, he kept the fearful worst from us until he returned home safe and sound. Or at least as sound as one can be after living so close to the trauma of war.

That was all long ago and far away. Now, what purpose do I have in blogging? A journal for sure, but as that, most of it is kept private. In my list of posts there are many more unpublished drafts than published posts. I don’t want to bother people with my thoughts and fears, questions about the meaning of life and my purpose in the here and now. There are drafts expressing my political opinions and faith convictions — which change and grow as my notions change and grow in understanding who God is and who I am in relation to him.

And that brings me full circle. There’s a lot going on in this rather limited brain of mine, a lot of things to sort out, to laugh at, to act on, to clean up or clear out. Yes, Julia Cameron, I think I get it. There is much rattling around in my head wanting to be written down, and therefore, no need spending minutes, hours, days trying to think something up. Instead, just write it down.

Yeah, write it down and get outside…summer won’t last forever.

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