Should I take it as a sign, when after a rather long pause in posting to the Archives, I come to the keyboard to discover that the internet is glitching?
I woke before 4am this morning, brewed my coffee (might I add that my stove top espresso maker was actually whining, as if it was out of practice at such an early hour), lit the sandalwood incense, and sat down in my writing chair. I was all ready to move back into the routine after a much-needed hiatus that has entailed a bit of travel, some big to-do lists, philosophical ponderings on the nature of creativity and discipline, and, most indulgent of all – sleep.
Refreshed but a bit rusty, I returned here to find that I only have the capacity to write for myself this morning. Though the internet says I’m connected, no webpages will load. Resetting the modem makes no difference.
Not wanting to waste a cup of coffee or a stick of incense, I type here as if anyone may read. As if anyone may care.
And I don’t write that last line as an Eeyore (reference “Winnie the Pooh“, as needed). It’s a genuine consideration, articulated well in a piece I read a few months ago on WordPress (which for the life of me, I can no longer find in order to rightly credit the author- my apologies). The post touched on the question of what’s worth writing about, as she had recently fielded a comment by one of her readers that brusquely asked/stated, “Who the fuck cares?”
After reading her candid recounting of the experience receiving this kind of feedback, I was heartened to see that I was not alone in wondering what really ‘matters’ to the reader and what is truly ‘worth’ writing about.
In this last month, amidst traveling, a long school holiday, and some practical matters on my desk (yes, the warmth of the bed, post-4am, was nice, as well), the who-cares-consideration took on a new angle. I rebelled in the month of November when bloggers everywhere dedicated to a post a day. I stopped posting altogether, as I searched for that inner spark. The one filled with urgency, insisting that critical words be potently put to page.
I found myself refusing to type just for typing-sake, then questioned the motives of my own rebellion, wondering if my mind was simply finding a clever way to sidestep writing discipline. Perhaps I was being tricked by my own self, but I continued puzzling on the question like a Rubik’s cube: “Who the f*%$# cares?”
Show don’t tell. As a writer, I’m not supposed to tell you what matters. You want to be shown the way to caring.
Well, what do I care about?
Sometimes when I go on vacation, I’ll purposely leave my camera in my suitcase. On that day, I want to have a full experience without documenting. I want to lose myself in life’s movie. I don’t want to set one foot outside the frame to distance myself as the observer.
Other times, being the documentarian becomes part of the experience, and I have some great snapshots to send home.
These last few weeks have found me living solely in the feature frame. Looking back, I only have a collage of fleeting images that could possibly be sent as postcards back to friends.
A sunset ferris wheel ride overlooking downtown Chicago.
Sliding my arms into my soon-to-be-10-years-old’s sweatshirt and realizing it fits.
Vanilla ice cream melting over warm ginger and cinnamon-scented apple crisp.
3am, booming thunder, flashing lightning, and seven inches of rain.
A quiet, one-year wedding anniversary with the Bohemian and a pot of thick, mushroom soup.
Are any of these stills worth stamping and sending off?
I’m not sure exactly why or how these snapshots matter, though I have a sense they do. And there’s more to say on the back of these postcards than “wish you were here.” More than just a telling of them to you.
Though these may be ‘my’ moments, I believe they are meant to be shared. Somewhere buried in the details of the setting, the time and place, there is a common thread that transcends all that is mine or yours. It’s a place that belongs to everyone and no one. It’s the place where you and I can meet.
If I show you in just the right way, we can be in that place together.
And, I guess for me, that’s really what I care about.