Why Write?

I’ve recently reconnected with a smattering of folks who found one another a decade ago in the heady, exciting ascent of blogging as a tool of communication and expression. Many of us slowed our creative output online; some stopped altogether. Facebook seems to be a primary agent in our reasoning – with so much easy accessed connectivity on FB, the longer form of blogging took a back seat.

My friend Ginger has posted a beautiful piece here; she sketches out why she wrote online, and why she stopped. One phrase stopped me cold:

{It}…became a nearly daily exercise in saying things, getting feedback, and best of all, finding out what was in my head. This is no small thing. I found out there was wisdom inside that head, coming from somewhere deep down. I would reread, shake my head and wonder where that came from. This is not a pride thing; it’s a self-discovery thing…How many of us struggle to like ourselves? Yet I discovered that I truly like myself, in writing. – For Any Eyes

I’ll claim those words as true for me, right now; out of her mouth but reflective of my soul. I truly like myself, in writing. I, too, re-read; and I am astounded. I don’t remember sorting things out like that, but get sorted they did – and I wrote it down.

I first heard of ‘blogging’ by way of a small, self-published book by someone who called himself Real Live Preacher. My brother brought the book to a family vacation one year, thrust it at me and said You’ll like this. 

I did. I went home and looked up the blog and was astounded and amazed to find someone writing, frequently, about the same thoughts and feelings and questions that I had. I was hooked.

Others were reading, too; and commenting. We started to connect, and one by one I found that a network of people existed outside of my day to day realm; pinpricks on a map of people who loved words.

Like me.

I wrote my first post in February of 2006, accompanied by this photograph:

image
I hardly remember that girl…

That seems like forever ago.

That first blog was – and still is – private; it requires an invitation to get in, and I have kept it that way. I blogged to get through the emotional upheaval of a divorce, one lived out in a very public setting. That was my only safe space; to say exactly what I felt, to ask questions that needed answers, and – most importantly – to find my voice.

In the past 10 years, words have flowed freely. I have found my voice, and I have learned what it’s like to temper words out of respect for community and vocation. I know now that however I live my life, it is imperative that I have a safe space to say things that are true for me. As a pastor, I have learned that editing is often necessary.

And I’ve learned to live with that.

Ginny said it well; I, too, like myself in writing. I like that the relationships nurtured on these virtual platforms spill over into reality sometimes. I like that Facebook opened up other doors to share and see into one anothers’ lives.

Words matter, in the giving and receiving. Putting them out in this space has changed my life, for the better.

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8 Comments

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  1. I, too, like myself in writing. It takes practice and the will to set aside time to do it. I always liked what you shared, Beth.

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  2. I remember those blog posts you wrote so many years ago–transparent, raw and honest. I admired you for being that way in your writing, for working through some very difficult things with words of integrity, not letting yourself or others off the hook. This is the hard work of Christianity, living honestly before God, and at least a few others. I’m glad you’re still writing. I’m glad some of us are rejoining you!

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  3. OMG! RLP! Wow… that was a blast from the past. I LOVED Gordon and his blog so much. I even purchased a disc with a collection of the artwork he used to use and still have it on my computer to this day. Oh my friend, what insight I have gained from you over the past 10 years. You have been another faithful blogger, and it’s been so cool to watch your little ones grow up and leave the nest. I always felt such a connection to you, and know now we were certainly separated at birth…lol. So happy we are doing this, and look forward to your wisdom.

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  4. I have read your blog off and on. I recall reading about some family weddings. It is wonderful to have a means to express oneself, to make sense of things, and to celebrate our personal triumphs.

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  5. “That was my only safe space; to say exactly what I felt, to ask questions that needed answers, and – most importantly – to find my voice.” Yes! Pretty miraculous that we’d all find that safe place among strangers, I think.

    I’m so looking forward to getting to know you!

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  6. OMG, another pastor! What you write about tempering words out of respect for community and vocation is written between the lines of much of what I write. There are days when I would love to be uncensored, but I supposed my own journal can handle that stuff. Anyway, I’m excited to be etching words into the universe with you and the rest of the gang here. There seems to be a delightful breeze of refreshment blowing through the group.

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  7. I remember Real Live Preacher and even purchased his Christmas Story narrative. I’m now to you but will make my initial group post later.

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  8. Nice to meet you Beth. (That is my eldest daughter’s name too)

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