Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart — William Wordsworth
Writing is both mask and unveiling — E.B. White
Every day I learn a little more about writing and living and how they intertwine. Does living drive the writing. Doesn’t writing come from the living.
But writing feels like living a second time. It often feels like a second go around, a chance to grab a clearer understanding. To place the lens up again with the glass wiped clean. Out from the fog comes the changed perspective. Ever so slightly, a changed experience evolves. Or the experience changes, is evolved when the breathing is released on the page.
And so I didn’t keep my promise, of sorts to you and to myself, that I was on a bit of a blogging break. Because in some ways I was still writing at the desk in the corner of my mind. Penning phrases and re-living the days of this life.
Processing the flood of strangers at our family Thanksgiving who turned out to be lovely and wonderful. Well I only spoke to one or two of them and they were perfectly lovely. I found myself too busy visiting with family that I see less often than I’d like. Do I feel a twinge of guilt for not mixing and mingling with them. Yes, how did you know.
And sitting in a small circle of family, from two to well, over fifty two, as a little one was cheered on to let her sister pull her tooth. The one in front in that Christmas song. The one that would make her smile all wonderful and toothless. The very tooth hanging by a thread, twisting and turning like a white sail flapping in the wind, nearly untethered.
So White was right. It’s an unveiling.
It’s a re-writing in the remembering. It’s life unveiled as the fingers dance out on the backlit keypads and reframe from memory the fragments of a life, played out again in recessed corners, deep crevices of wrinkling wobbling memory.
There are some seasons where slowing down the recording, the pulsing breathing, rebreathing of events seems to snuff the very life out of the living. To leave it in a dusty corner of the mind feels like an early burying of a life. An early death of sorts. This is that very season for me.
Because if White is right, then leaving the events veiled kills the potential for sharing the very heartbeat of the writer with her readers and her God.
If unveiling is sharing, these small seemingly wondrously mundane events where you may say I know, I have lived that, felt that, I am not so alone after all, then pull back the veil. To shared humanness.
We sat in the sunlit swamp with barely walkers and ones with walkers. And the stories of lives intersected like a pile up on 1-95. But rather than life-taking it is life-giving.
It is the aunt who retires in weeks after years of working and watching her face muse and ponder her plans.
It’s hearing of new jobs and hurt knees, new joints. Of aging and birth piled up like raked leaves, a collection of color and signs of changing seasons.
And it’s watching teenagers heave back in shared laughter at the giddy free falling joy of family who are more like friends and all their favorite foods, served outside by a blue river that most days is swampy muddy brown.
But today. Today it’s blue, the sky is blue, tummies and hearts are full. And the writers can’t stop reading the moments in reverse.
Retrieving yesterday’s moments which today are fresh memory. And while they are fresh, I will write with today’s breath yesterday’s breathing. Yesterdays living. Dip down into the inkwell of yesterdays still-wet stories, and stroke out understanding with an unveiling of the seemingly mundane moments.
And hope that our shared human experience gives legs to the stories and sets them out to run free.
And maybe we will all understand a little more about writing and living.