Thursday, July 21, 2016

Documentation: An Essay on Writing

Inside cover of my first "official" journal

I've been a Writer since I was seven years old.

When I was little, I used to write each night, before I went to bed. At the top of the page I would record the day / date / time, and each entry would start:

Today I woke up at...

and then I would document each event of the day.

(e.g. My Mom bought me a Dairy Queen Blizzard, I went to Tilly's house and played basketball, We drove to Gull Lake...).

Throughout my childhood, I did not give much thought to why I did this; I did not wonder why I had this insistent need to record the events of each day.

My passion for writing extended into the aesthetics of the craft as well. In Third Grade my mom enrolled me into a Calligraphy Summer School course. I remember making quill pens out of Goose feathers and using Gold Leaf to create the alphabet.

Once, when I was eight, I took a hard cover copy of the book, "Up North at the Cabin" by Marsha Wilson Chall (I went to school with her daughter) and I re-copied the entire book into a red Mead spiral notebook. When I was done with copying the entire book, I felt satisfied and even vindicated, as though I too were now a published author.

When I was in Sixth Grade I won, along with Zach Jensen, the "Grandma Essay Contest" where you had to write an essay about why you loved your Grandma (or something along those lines). I remember being so proud because I was not yet in the elite "Challenge Club" for gifted readers / writers and I felt that winning this essay contest (we each got a silver dollar) had proven my smarts.

Sometimes I will go back in my dozens of journals and I will find a piece of writing that shocks me. It is less about the content and more about the current events of the time. When the Berlin Wall went down, when 9/11 occurred, when my dad was first diagnosed with Cancer - I will read these posts and have empathy for my future self, now knowing all that was to come.

In more recent years, let's say 2009 to Present Day, I've switched to a public format of writing on this blog. It's a bit antithetical because I am actually a very private person. I did not know this until I got into my Thirties and became more aware of the meaning of Introvert vs. Extrovert.

I've written about writing before, as writers love to do. It is an ongoing dialog with invisible readers and me - I am always trying to get to the bottom of why I write. God knows I've suffered from it. Writing publicly is actually a very courage-required type act. Because, as I've recently seen, Readers will read what I write and then interpret accordingly, thinking they know me.

But, that's still not the point. There is this dynamic that exits in my Mind - this duality of 

Writing for Me
Writing for You

Because, after all this time, I still think that I write for me and only me. But then, why not just keep it locked up in the leather-bound journals? Why not just keep it for myself.

A couple of reasons:
  1. I rarely go back and read my journals (and, the occasions when I do, as previously mentioned, are often embarrassing).
  2. I think - no, be confident - I know that I have something to offer to You. It might be pure voyeurism but I think there is more, because You've told me so...  

What have You told me. You've told me that you Relate. You Connect. You "Get It." You (most importantly) Find Comfort.

Now that, Dear Reader, is often the most intoxicating part. To be a closet introvert (I Much, Much, Much prefer to be Alone rather than With People) and to be told that through my silent writing you've received comfort. How convenient is that? It's Serendipity.

It's been Sad of late to be using my writing as a means for proving my sanity, or proving myself to be thinking legitimate thoughts. But that is more about having a brain disorder and less about writing. The brain disorder AND the writing existed all along, so I don't need to spend much more time worrying about that.

Which gets back to why I write. 

Documenting My Life helps me 
Not Worry So Much because it allows me to 
Let It Go. 

I do not spend much time ruminating about the past because I've already written about it, and, if I have a question, I can go back and read about it.

This is probably why I love my other blog so much - For Topical Use Only - because it is all fiction and it is all about the future. I am considering a switch to more regular Fiction and less Non-Fiction. Writing about one's own life is exhausting and potentially dangerous. 

But, as I've now told you, it's intoxicating, too.

Thank you for your continued Readership.


Susan Marie Andersen
Minnetonka, MN
Thursday, July 21, 2016
11:39 AM / Mom's Deck  :-)

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