When I graduated from college I received a gift.
I slowly opened the box and pulled out the Waterford pen. It felt great in my hand and immediately I knew that it was meant to tell stories. It was meant to share thoughts, beliefs, feelings and perspectives. It was meant to be used.
If you have never held a Waterford Pen then I guess you will never know.
All it and I needed was a blank piece of paper.
I started to write. I wrote about everything. I wrote about growing up in a small town. I wrote about my family. I wrote about losing a brother. I wrote about my college experiences. I re-told stories that my grandfather shared with me. I wrote about my future dreams and how I truly felt about the things in my life. I wrote everyday and I kept my musings in note-books and hid them so that no one would ever find them. I was embarrassed, afraid that someone would find them and expose my thoughts and feelings. My life story hand-written on paper. Nobody ever knew that this was what I did in my spare time.
That was over 30 years ago. Long before there were computers in every home. Long before word processors and the internet. Long before the advent of people even having “blogs”.
Unfortunately… life got in my way. Responsibilities of a young father and a man trying to save his struggling marriage sapped any desire and passion I had for writing. I just simply stopped and put the pen down. I hid my notebooks and today I assume they are where I placed them all those years ago. That location will be a secret I take to my grave. I am sure that some of my “best” writings are embedded somewhere in that “buried treasure”. They will stay where I put them. I have no desire to unearth them and relive the raw feelings and perspectives of that time in my life.
Simply stated… like almost everything I had in this life, I lost it in my divorce. That included my Waterford Pen. For almost 20 years I really did not write much more than my sign my name. I swallowed any desire or passion I had about writing. There were times during that period where I wasn’t really sure I was passionate about anything.
But as the years have passed, I have found I still have a few passions in my life. Today, I am still passionate about my relationship with Jesus Christ. My wife, Pam is the primary focus of my earthly passions. I want to live the rest of my life making sure she is happy and taken care of. My children and grandsons are extremely important to me as well. I still find myself being passionate about listening to music. I listen as much as I can. There is a sense of urgency for me because I fear that with my onset hearing loss there may be a day when the music will be silent to me.
The bottom line is that after all this time, I still find that I am passionate about writing. I am still drawn to write. I started writing this blog on September 3rd of 2008. My original intent was to re-write some thoughts and stories that I had written so many years ago. I wanted to write them down and store them someplace where my children and grandchildren could read them one day. I never really intended to have anyone else read this except them. I just started to write and one thing led to another and the next thing I knew I had over 100, 000 visitors to my blog. I then said that I would continue to write until I had 200,000. I reached that goal and really did not set another goal. I only told myself that I would keep writing until I lost the motivation and/or came up with another outlet for me to express what I need to share. I am now closing in on 500,000 visitors to this site.
As I have always said, I love to write… I never said I write well. I know that as I strain to remember some of the stories that I wrote all those years ago, the details got lost in the fog of time. I don’t remember like I used to. Some stories blur into one and the end result is something different from what really happened. I can’t change the fog of time… the senses dull and some of the details will be lost forever.
That doesn’t mean I have nothing to say. I write much more than I ever post to this site. I have over 250 rough draft posts sitting in my file. Waiting for me to review and just waiting to be posted. Most will not ever be posted. Sometimes I guess, I worry about being too interested in the writing aspect as opposed to the content and if what I write really helps people when they read it.
A true writer, ( I am told) in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions:
1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
I think I fail at all four points but I am reminded that George Orwell did not write his two master pieces (Animal Farm, 1984) until close to the end of his short life; leaving the planet at 47 from a severe lung disease. Orwell did not start to write until he was in his late 20’s. But once the decision was made, he tackled the task like a man possessed. Most of what he wrote was never published. Orwell lived a short life though his body of work is still being sorted through by academics and historians, because writing was his passion, and he wrote every day…and the pages go on and on.
Now I do not compare myself to Orwell. The only similar aspect that is even remotely similar to Orwell is that I try to write everyday. I’ve been DRAWN to and COMPELLED to write for most of my life. For the most part it is crap, but it’s my crap…and I will simply continue to do it.
I mentioned a few posts ago that I have a critic. Someone who keeps me humble in my writings. He told me (and I quote) that, “My writing was a stain on the white shirt of society“. Now for the record, like most people, I am a person who likes to be liked. BUT… if you don’t like me I am okay with that as well. It is alright for someone to not “care” for me. I have a list of people I am not too fond of myself. I do not wish them any ill, I just would prefer to let them live their life and I will live mine. That being said… I did want to point out that while my critic may be right about my writings, he missed the whole point of my blog. I am not trying to be a writer.
In the end, really, if nobody ever reads my work that’s alright. It is the act of writing itself that gives me the most pleasure.
Writing is my passion. Writing makes my heart soft and pliable towards the things of God. I believe to have a passion in one’s life is important; somehow passion gives us Meaning to our lives in this huge universe.
So… if my writings are truly a “stain on the white shirt of society” than so be it.
It’s my passion and that is just fine with me.
The question is… what is your passion?