Friday, September 21, 2007

Why I don't go there

A few things this week have inspired me to write about the things I won’t write about.

The first was the poignant piece over at My Bad Mother in which the author says her posts lately have been not talk, but chatter, as she struggles with things in her life she’s currently unable to talk about.

The second was a lovely message from one of my cousins in which she praised my blog and my ability to juggle it with parenting and a full-time job. How do you find the time? she asked.

And though she was being nothing but complimentary, it made me feel like a bit of a fraud. It made me feel like maybe one could read my words and find there a life so managed and buffed and polished that they were unable to relate. And I feel compelled to paraphrase Jessica Rabbit and say I’m not a perfect person, I’m just written that way.

I specialize in cheap and cheerful writing, you see. A twist of a phrase here. A fragment left hanging for effect. A description crafted to elicit both joy and sadness as surely as a three-legged puppy. It’s an emotionally manipulative style. I’m good at it. I recognize and enjoy it when other writers use it.

But just because I don’t write about darkness in my life doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

We all have difficult days and I’m no exception. I have said over and over again that I am blessed and so I am, but few people’s lives, including mine, are completely charmed.

But it is unlikely that I will ever share more than a melancholy moment with my readers and this is why.

My writing is my escape. It always has been. I write to remind myself of the good things in my life. I write because if I set myself to it, I have the power to make a reader smile or well with tears and that power is reassuring to me. It calms me like nothing else can. It says to me, Yes, things are hard right now, but this is your power and it is real and it is still here.

And then there is my family. Me? I’m a blabbermouth. My husband? Not so much. He is a private person, a quiet person, a rather old-fashioned type who values decorum and propriety, modesty, even. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with him.

He has been a wonderful sport about being included in my writing over the years. And I’m sure it’s not always easy. When you are a writer, everything and everyone in your life becomes grist for the mill. Every exchange is the potential inspiration for a paragraph, every event an essay. I can’t help it; it’s how I process things.

When I started this blog I was quick to assure my husband there were certain lines I wouldn’t cross. There are many bloggers out there, whom I hold in the highest esteem, who weave touching and poignant tales about their complicated familial relationships, their sex lives, their financial woes, their intimate pain and daily struggles.

But I am not one of them.

There are certain pieces of myself, that I will, I must, keep only for me.

What I will give to you – and I dearly hope that it is enough - is pure enjoyment. A smile, a knowing nod, a misty eye, a swell of emotion, however brief, that comes with the recognition that no matter what our individual struggles, we are all similarly moved by the things we hold dear.

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Anonymous said...

I just found your blog through the Canadian Blog Awards and I'm really happy I did. I'll be digging around in your archives, and reading you daily.

Lisa said...

I hear you there. My hubby is a very private person, and I try my best to respect that. I also always try to write only things about him that I would say to him. Respectful I guess.