A Deeper Truth | Writing
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My friend SHAWN has been writing about writing recently on his BLOG, which I’ve linked in his name.  He has been quoting some stuff from various books and has written previously on things ANNE LAMOTT has said.  Recently I’ve been writing more and I wonder where I’m going.  I remember something in Bird by Bird that Lamott quoted saying something along the lines of you can only see as far as the headlights shine in front of you when writing.  I feel the same way about my “writing life” if that even exists – I don’t necessarily know where I’m going but I can see just ahead.

Anne Lamott is a HERO of sorts in my family as we love her down-to-earth self-deprecating humor. Not sure why that type of humor is so absorbed in my family but it is.  It makes my father laugh more than anything, but my whole family seems to enjoy it as well.  Lamott’s book Bird by Bird really triggered something in me about writing and led me to devour it and other books on the subject.  I’ve always wondered where that interest would take me and I still don’t have an answer.  I used to dream about being aWRITER, someone who spends every day with the craft, communicating something to the world.  I used to frequent BOOKSTORES and dream that I would someday be able to write a book.  I can’t even completely explain the feeling or desire but it was strong.  In recent years it has not been as strong because I’ve gotten busy with my professional career and have not written as much, if at all.

Sometimes I wonder if I just like the IDEA of a writer but am not willing to put in the work.  It’s probably true, but even so, I obviously still want to be a writer, however I might define that word in my life.  Since I have been writing my column in the local online news magazine and spending more time with this new blog, I am feel more inclined to write.  Usually I only write when I am MOTIVATED to write, when I have something to say.  Not long ago I bought some cheap journals to keep my thoughts in because my thoughts on various subjects never run out, but lately I’ve been forgetting to jot them down.  I was joking with my wife today that I need something that reads my thoughts and transcribes them.  She pictured me wearing a helmet of sorts with electrodes connected to my head and I said I would totally wear it if it could actually jot down my thoughts for me.   The amount of thoughts I have and the depth they sometimes reach is very hard for me to always write about clearly.  Sometimes WORDS are not enough and those thoughts could never be relayed to others.  Sometimes it feels lonely in here, wishing I could really share with others what I was thinking, which is why I think I want to be writer.  I don’t know what to do with my thoughts and they seem to WANT TO BE HEARD.

The other aspect that confuses me is what to write about.  I like philosophy, religion, psychology and all things deep.  Then I love design and aesthetics, photography, and video.  Then I like to write self-deprecating essays that allow me to laugh at myself and my humanity and invite others to do the same.  Those feel like three completely different areas.  Could I write about all three?  Yes, but sometimes it’s easier to have one general FOCUS.  The blog attached to my counselling site is easier for me to write on because I write what I know, what I experience with clients, and what I live as a person always going through change and healing.  But I don’t have schooling in design and I can’t just write self-deprecating essays all the time, as that wouldn’t quench my thirst for all things deep.

So I guess I need to keep WRITING and watch to see if all these subjects can come together.  I guess it’s a pattern in my life to try and figure out what my life should look like before I live it.  Just writing that at this moment feels good.  I need to write, write, write, and allow my voice to become more clear to myself and to others.  I’m not going to figure out the future before I live in the present.  And the funny thing is, you can only write in the PRESENT, a place I have a hard time living which makes it hard to be a writer.

  • Shawn Smucker
    Posted at 22:43h, 23 June Reply

    I love your old travel writings J. They need to be resurrected.

    • JMac
      Posted at 23:01h, 23 June Reply

      you think? they’re still published in a blog. all my blogs are still live. i miss writing stuff like i did in my blog “the ranting papers.”

      i will think about resurrecting them in some way.

      thanks shawn!

  • JMac
    Posted at 23:32h, 23 June Reply

    i just went back and read a bunch of my traveling blog and it hit me quite hard how meaningful and adventurous that time of my life was. thanks for the reminder. i’m so glad i wrote while i traveled, even though it meant lugging around a heavy laptop!

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