I am a writer. I have always been a writer, learned how to write an annotated bibliography, how to use literary techniques and so on. Okay, so maybe when I was first born and not yet able to hold a pencil and all that literal shit, I was NOT a writer. But in my body, in my spirit, I have always been a writer.
Notice I didn’t say brain. Writing isn’t in the brain. Grammar, spelling, punctuation – that’s in the brain. Writing is somewhere else. It is ethereal.
When I was on deployment I always kept the pictures of my family put away. Tucked into my Bible is where they stayed. I didn’t pin them up, tape them to my bunk or inside my locker. I hid them. In order to remain sane so far away from them, I couldn’t look at those pictures unprepared. I had to be ready for it. Otherwise, it would throw me into a spiral of whatever that ache is that you get when you can’t put your hands on your children or kiss the forehead of your beloved. A person can’t live like that.
I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say ~ Flannery O’Connor
And I am not always prepared to know what I think. There are some moments, days, periods of life that are just not appropriate for in-depth contemplation. Sometimes after the spouse is adored, kids are nurtured, career is clocked, food is served, teeth are brushed, I am grateful to maybe have enough energy to fold the laundry, and, if it is a particularly great day, have enough left in the tank to carry on an adult conversation with a girlfriend who has been seriously neglected. To add an in-depth conversation with myself? Yeah, no.
As a point of explanation, that entire “not prepared to know what I think” paragraph had to be paused, rewritten, edited for content as there is too much left to say and analyze between the spaces and commas. I don’t have time for that.
In addition to not having time, I don’t have the inclination. I have a hard time with private writing. I heard somewhere that George Washington said, “Never write down anything you don’t want the whole world to read.” I don’t care enough to google the authenticity of that citation. The point is I believe the sentiment.
Therefore, I rarely write what I can’t publish. I don’t trust it. That being true, there is a ton of stuff in my brain that will never find the page. While necessary, the downside of that is periods of time where I just will not write. It is just too much to figure out the best way to balance authenticity with tact, honesty with privacy, truth with rant.
His response was enlighting for me. One, it affirmed what I thought and verified that I was not over thinking myself and on the track to being more comfortable. Two, most importantly, the smile gave me courage to embrace that odd cattywampus juxtaposition of self that so often feels…well…unknowable.
So maybe I will just have to write about it…