Oh, you guys. I struggle with this blog sometimes. I want, so very much, to have the time and energy and focus to write beautiful, thought-provoking words about life and being a mother and trying to conceive and all of the little things in between. But some days I just want to put up a cute picture of Owen and not write a single word. Some days I want to share a very regular thing we did over the weekend or what I made for dinner. Some days I want to laugh at my parenting fail or tell you about the time I completely lost my shit. Other days I don’t want to say much at all.
Usually I honor whatever it is I want to be writing on a given day (and cross my fingers that someone out there wants to read it), but sometimes (especially when times are so good that nothing dramatic is going on and all I want to do is hang out with Owen, but I’m certain you’re tired of hearing “Everything is great…”) I push myself to write something. Anything. Those are the days that are boring to write and boring to read. I know.
I have been told that some of my best writing has been through the most difficult times. The trying part of trying to conceive Owen. The early days of having a newborn. The miscarriage. For the sake of my own heart and happiness, I am glad that I’m not in those deep, dark places very often or for very long. But for the sake of my writing, they are like my muse. The words fly out of my fingers faster than I’m even aware. The words write themselves. It feels more natural than breathing. I just let go, and write. And I rarely edit anything at all. It just comes out in a flash and I hit publish.
This morning I started reading a book that speaks the words I wish I could write all of the time. It is beautiful. And sad. And hilarious. And touching. And thoughtful. It uses SAT words alongside curse words and every carefully chosen word resonates with me. And, according to my Kindle, I’m only 10% of the way in. There’s a lot more where that came from.
Every sentence and story seems to speak to me about a different piece of my life. Even the forward touched me right to the core. I can’t remember the last time I even read a forward and I have no idea what compelled me to read this one, except that my Kindle started me there and I was hooked from the very first line. This part had me reading hungrily and thinking deeply about blogging and why I spending time putting so much of myself out there in various social media outlets:
“It is striking that Sugar [the advice columnist persona that this book is based upon] was born on the Internet, that shadow world to which people apply with a need to escape from their true selves, to remake their identities on the cheap, to shine their buttons in public. The Internet can be many things, of course. Too often it’s a cesspool of distraction, a place where we indulge in the modern sport of snark and schadenfreude, building the case for our own bigotries, where we mock and thereby dismiss the suffering of others. But the lurking dream of all of us online lurkers is that we might someday confess to our own suffering, that we might find someone who will listen to us, who will not turn away in the face of our ugliest revelations.”
— Steve Almond, in the forward to Cheryl Strayed’s “Tiny Beautiful Things”
The author, Cheryl Strayed, worked for many years (perhaps she still does?) as an advice columnist on The Rumpus (which I had never heard of until finding this book). Tiny Beautiful Things is a collection of some of her best letters. I guess you could call it a collection of short stories or essays. Which, if I’m being honest, is why I chose it over her other two titles that also came highly recommended… because short stories are easier to read on the train to work. And that’s where the bulk (ok, ALL) of my reading gets done. In short, I have become an incredibly lazy reader.
Even if you have no intention of reading these books, I highly recommend reading this particular letter. Especially if you have ever experienced a miscarriage or have ever been close to someone who has experienced a miscarriage or may ever experience a miscarriage in your life. Or if you’ve ever felt “stuck” in your own life. Her words are haunting and will stay with you.
Now that I’ve started this book and can’t WAIT to get back on the train to read some more, I will definitely be getting her “real” books too. I don’t know when I’ll find time to read them exactly, but words this beautiful must be read. And shared.
And so I’m sharing them with you.