Sunday, June 26, 2011

Finding the words

I was never the popular kid in class.  I was quiet. Blending in was not my goal; disappearing was.  I didn't want anyone to notice me, or speak my name. I was terrified, of what, I do not know to this day. This fear of being noticed followed me through elementary school and into high school.

My school experience was predictable for the 70's.  I went to the elementary school in my neighborhood, and then to the high school right next door.  There was the guy who laughed all the time from Kindergarten to Grade 12 (he still does) and the guy who was smarter than everyone else. There was the guy who seemed to be misunderstood and the guy who got picked on. (In high school I remember him being "inserted" into a garbage can in the school cafeteria.) There was the girl who was, and still is, remarkably beautiful.  There was the confident girl. The quirky girl.  The girlfriend.  There was the guy nobody noticed.  And there was me. Invisible me. Frightened me.

I was married at 19 to the only person who made me fail safe and OK to be . . . me, or figure out who "me" was.  We moved away to Calgary where my husband went to school and I worked. I made friends there, and a lifelong home.  Even though we moved back to Saskatchewan in 1983, every time I go to Calgary, I feel like I somehow belong there. Like there is a piece of me still there.

Through my life travels, as a frightened child and an awkward, introverted teen, writing was my secret outlet. I wrote stories, poems, songs and imagined things on paper, where it was safe. I used to keep them in a trunk in my room.  I eventually destroyed them in case someone should find them.

Although I did not understand the meaning of my need to write, it was as natural as breathing to me.  I believe now that I was searching for my voice, or at least the words to speak out loud, some day.  Over time, writing became a powerful force in my life at every turn.  

When my husband was in University, there was a constant fight for funding. I discovered that I had a gift for writing letters that got the attention of government decision makers.  

I decided to become a writer, so I came out of the proverbial closet to study English and Journalism at University of Regina.  I was ignited by the history of writers who found freedom in the written word to express concerns in society. Their words were part of the conversations that led to the liberation of people, and installment of rights and freedoms that we enjoy today. It was like I discovered where my soul had been living all this time. 

Writing is as natural and as necessary as breathing is to me.  I use my gift of voice and my passion for the written word judiciously and with purpose. In my professional, corporate and philanthropic life, writing to create plans, reports, presentations, and other forms of communication have helped create and articulate futures that are being brought to life, thereby creating jobs, economic prosperity and social change. I continue to write poems, stories and articles in an attempt to articulate and document what I have learned along the way, and what it all means.

The writing process is one of listening, learning, feeling, and observing what is being said, and capturing what the audience needs to hear and know.  I write to instigate thought and to ignite reaction.  Sometimes I write so that others can be free of what contains them. Often times, writing is a "catch and release" experience. Once something is written, and released, there are traces of me,  but I do not recognize it as my own, because it isn't. It belongs to the world after that.

I could not chose a better time in history to be a writer of a human experience.  With the power of the Internet, blogs and a litany of social media opportunities, the mind boggles as to how many stories can be told, how much experience can be shared and how much insight we can gather about the human experience.  . . if only we would take the time to think about it.

I wonder if we squander this great gift of voice or take it for granted.  What would Shakespeare do with this opportunity if he could reach beyond the confines of single stage and audience?  What would Picasso have accomplished if he could express himself off the canvas?  Would we be further along in our understanding of each other if we could have shared in the written word earlier?  Would we have allowed the atrocities of our time to occur?

In many ways, I am still that invisible 5 year old, except that I am no longer afraid because now I understand that everyone has a story to tell, and my job is to write it down if they are willing. Writing has given me both voice and courage. It has created a passion for life long learning.



Other blogs written by yours truly . . .

http://whiteshag.blogspot.com/?zx=521b0acfda8938fb

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amazing ,what Mom never knew about you.Excellent writing.
Love,Mom

Lynear Thinking said...

I never knew about me either. I was just following an instinct.