Tuesday, December 29, 2015

You Should Be A Writer #SOL15



"You should be a writer," she says, hugging me through the tears as we stand outside the church on a crisp December Monday morning.  She was my Grandma's neighbor for many years and the daughter of one of her best friends, who passed away on another December day a few years ago. 

Moments earlier, I had bowed by the altar near my Grandmother's casket, climbed the steps, paper in hand. I adjusted the microphone and saw the faces of my family and some friends who made the journey.  It was not a packed church. There was silence. And I began, with a composure that must have been a gift of courage from above, as I am rarely composed in the face of such sadness. 

It was a special honor to write about my Grandma, to honor the beautiful life she led and the love she gave to so many.  To write something and then to stand in church and read it to the family and friends gathered.  It was one small kindness I could give back to her after a lifetime of kindnesses she gave to me. 

In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott talks about being a writer, even if you're never published, even if you're never famous or rich from your writing.  At the end of the book, she writes this:

"So why does our writing matter, again?" they ask.

Because of the spirit, I say. Because of the heart. Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh at ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored.  We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on the ship."

"You should be a writer," she says and in my heart, I know I am.