Someone once told me that writers write, but "normal" people actually live their lives. "I live my life," she said blithely. "I don't write about it."
At the time, I was wounded by those words. Maybe I am wandering on the fringes instead of jumping into the fray. Maybe I am criticizing on the sidelines instead of playing the game. But I don't know how to be any different than I am. And I know what happens to me when I stop writing. I act out. I stop feeling my feelings. I turn into someone I don't like very much. The only way I know how to make sense of anything is to write it down. I like to mull things over. I've never been the kind of person to tell someone in the throes of grief, "try not to think about it." I ponder. I ruminate. I dwell on things. That's what I do so I can find the right words.
I am teaching the first class of a two-part essay writing workshop this evening. Every time I lead one of these workshops, there's a tiny part of me that wants to scream: "Get out, get out while you can! Go and live your lives! Stop paying so much attention to what's inside your head!" A tiny part, mind you. The rest of me is inspired, wired, and fired up to be in a room full of people who want to make something beautiful from words on a page.
So back to that original someone. I didn't have a response then, but I do now:
First: f*ck you for being a jealous, judgmental bitch.
Second: I was (am) living my life.
Third: I went out with your ex-boyfriend the night after he dumped you and...let's just say we did some living.
Fourth: I wrote a short story about it and have been saving an extra copy for you to read, should you ever decide to look me up again.
"I am going to write because I cannot help it."~Charlotte Bronte