Today is the 3rd Annual National Day on Writing. The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) established it in recognition of “the significance of writing in our national life, to draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in, and to help writers from all walks of life recognize how important writing is to their lives.”
Clearly, I don’t need any reminding that writing is important to my life. I might be able to make the argument that writing is my life.
Although, I was talking to a dear friend just yesterday about how only about 40% of the joy comes from the actual act of writing. The rest is about being curious about something, researching it, reading about it, talking to people about it, trying to figure it out, searching for connections and seeing patterns, and then stringing words together in order to share what I discover with others.
Writing is map making, and song writing, and picture painting, and soothsaying, and remembering, and dreaming, and heavy lifting, and laundry, and hurting, and meditating, and walking away, and letting go, and celebrating, diving in and giving up–see how writing is life?
But I do wonder sometimes what I am missing when I have my camera. It is a balance I am very curious about and try to stay conscious of–how much (and when) does my camera bring me deeper into the moment and when does it pull me farther away?
My response was:
I think about this all the time, because if I don’t have a camera, I am probably thinking about what details to savor and capture so I can write about it later. It’s the dilemma of the artist: life is happening at the same moment we are making art of it, so are we living or making art?
But I suppose that’s what I am saying, what I understand now: maybe I don’t need to distinguish between art and life, as my art is my life, and my life is my art? I don’t need an official, government sanctioned Day of Writing, because I have 365 days of writing.
And joy. And gratitude. And hard work, but good work. And kindness. And wisdom. I know how to spell “love” because I write, and it is written on my tender heart because I live it, breath and bone.
Today, Sam was in the yard, playing in a pile of leaves that Eric had carefully raked the day before. The joy he so clearly felt is how I feel about writing, so I’ll leave you with the image of that, kind and gentle reader.