On Writing

Writing this post

Someday I'll find the sheet of paper that my dad used to transcribe my first story. As the first child and before my sister arrived, everything I did those first 18-ish months of life was captured including the first story I ever told. It was about a squirrel, which were plentiful around my suburban Chicago home, and its fight with a corn stalk, which my parents planted in our garden.

I've written or pretended something or made up some story or told one, even tiny ones, probably every day of my life. I imagine we all do that. Humans love our stories. I can't imagine not writing. I use it to process my life's experiences, to hold memories, and to create more space in my brain. I forget a lot, mostly because I dump things in writing to refer to later. I like having a clear head and can't be bothered to retrieve information that I could easily find again or somewhere else.

I like the way words come together. I don't mean this in a romantic or lyrical way, though that's always a bonus when it's unforced and natural. I mean in a way that communicates and portends some kind of significant thought or feeling. I like the way words come together in that they connect us, you to me. I like connection.

Isn't it strange how humans have figured out all these different ways to communicate with each other? Through pixels and ink and brain waves and looks and music and gestures. It's as though the whole species can't get enough of itself and must constantly vibrate together, even across generations and millennia. The word "legacy" exists for a reason. We want to continue to connect even when we're gone, and people in the future still want to connect somehow with those past.

I've recently fallen into the rabbit hole of learning the history of the Windsor Dynasty. I've become fascinated by what it means to be a monarch, and how the landscape has been shifting for them as they marry commoners. As kings and queens have become sparse in the world, the ones left look to ordinary citizens as spouses, which can create a conundrum for the families. It's happening with Megan Markle today, and happened prior with Princess Diana and before that with Wallis Simpson. When you're not born into the gilded cage, it can be difficult to operate within it. When you are born within the gilded cage, it can be difficult to understand the outside. The mixed marriages of monarchs with commoners cause a stir, for sure.

Isn't that how life goes, always, in general? Things are going along until a new situation gets added, then we undergo a period of adjustment until things go along again and a new situation gets added. It's why we love stories. They reflect the continual ebb and flow of the waves of our lives. A character lives, something happens to them, they react to that thing that happened and adjust course, they go along the route until something else happens to them, and again and again and again. Life is story.

That's why I write. I write to process what happens in my life, to somehow reflect the story either directly or indirectly, to vibrate with everyone, to connect.


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