Read, Write, Listen…Absorb

Why do we even write?

It’s not because everything’s okay, that’s for sure and certain.

Sometimes the feelings build up into a big ol’ pressure cooker, and just have to be let out, and part of (attempting) to manage that release in an appropriate manner can be to wait, to write, to take the time and care to convey with precision what’s going on. Slowing down helps, because a knee-jerk reaction to life is all too easy, and often very damaging.

Sharing our stories helps us to connect to individuals who understand – not necessarily the particular situation or brand of challenge we’re going through – but on a human level: as brothers and sisters of the same species – we get it. And we know that when someone’s struggling, the feedback and validation of their difficulty can be really helpful. In addition, by writing it down, we leave a signpost to anyone else out there who might struggle with a similar issue, and happen to stumble across our experience.

Even the funnies – the ones which make us explode into giggles or comment aloud into the empty (or, if you’re unlucky, full) room – have a place in the arena of writing our wrongs. Because humour makes life so much more palatable. And if the writer’s not channeling his or her own struggle through a funny-filter to make it more manageable, you can be certain that the straight-up-genuine funnies are going to be so hugely needed by readers whose day just went south. And they’ll feel buoyed up; better, for having smiled.

And the beauty which is shared – sublime pictures; incredible art; inspiring videos of human kindness and achievement – we need those too, to remind us of what is good, and what is lovely, and what is noble – and to focus on these when life seems hard, and to join in the celebration when it’s all going well.

We write to connect and to heal. And the power of the internet to help that spread and engulf the globe with Beauty and Wonder and Compassion and Truth and Good and Real…that is truly marvellous. We’re writing a revolution, y’all!

And it’s a gift, not only to produce, but to consume – greedily at times – those things which others have put out there, as snapshots of their lives, which resonate, or as signposts to better ways, or for sheer indulgence.

So please enjoy with me, a few of the things I’ve loved most this week about the Blogosphere.

Don of All Trades posted this a while ago, about an encounter with a member of the public who really didn’t want a speeding ticket for her misdemeanour. But the way he handled it, and the reasons given for why he didn’t ‘spend his time better catching real criminals’ are shattering. Policing is not a world I know anything about – especially American policing. But this…this learned me good.

Kasey Edwards wrote about the awfulness of the day she discovered that her mother was horrible. And fat. And takes a really honest, wonderful, beautiful, brutal look at the ramifications, and what needs to happen next.

And just RightNow, dear Beth wrote a piece about a simple phone call, but with such rawness and beauty and depth of emotion that it completely floored me and my chest constricted and I couldn’t breathe. It’s that good. An incredible, amazing conveyance of emotion, flooded out in one moment, rooted in a lifetime of challenge.

Ages ago, lovely Kristi let me write for Our Land again. And perhaps it’s a little *too* close to the bone, but hey, it’s all about the honesty – and why ‘people shaming’ really HUGELY pisses me off.

38 thoughts on “Read, Write, Listen…Absorb

  1. WOW! That's such a good exercise! I wish I'd done that! My list would be so, so long! That's a mind-blowingly good idea for a teen to start doing.

    I think she's right though – in reading so greedily, we open ourselves to learning such a variety of writing techniques, styles, voices, tricks – we learn to discern for ourselves what *we* like and in turn how to produce it in a style which can engage others. It's so SO important to read.


  2. i love how you put it: that we write to produce and consume, that the duality of the process is important. one of my writing instructors is a voracious reader, and has kept a log of the books she has read ever since she was a teenager. she said that in order to be a good writer, you had to read…and read a lot.


  3. I noticed. And I appreciate your edit more than words can say – I'm such a douchey grammar-nazi that it would've caused me a physical *wince* if I didn't see that you'd already corrected it. Feel free to reach through the computer and slap me for being a language snob.

    JUST WRITE YOUR NOVEL ALREADY! Wow! I'll read it 😀 C'mon! I also want it in a REAL book. Not a kindlething 😉

    Glad blogging allows you to tap into your creative side – it's certainly lovely to read your creative side…now get EMBIGGENING it. 'kay?

    And thanks. Glad so much that you like this 😀


  4. I have always wanted to write. I like the creativity and the outlet. I have always dreamed of writing a novel. I have the memory of the desire from the age of 8. One day, I keep telling myself.

    Blogging has allowed me to tap into a bit of my creative side although I haven't anywhere near releasing the kraken! I have met some awfully cool people (*ahem*) who have made this little writing venture a great deal more interesting.

    I agree on every point you made in this post but the line that jumped out at me the most was “we leave a signpost to anyone else out there who might struggle with a similar issue, and happen to stumble across our experience.” That is a big one. We put things out there as a beacon for others, either to help them along the way or receive our own help…sometimes it works out, we get both.

    Great post, as always!



  5. I definitely fall into that camp – I can write to break your heart or make you soar, or fierce with anger. But in person I'm sometimes funny, usually innocuous and not nearly as eloquent as I come across here…

    (that said, I'm still wordy and a bit of a snob – I've been having fun with (at?) my colleagues, none of whom knew the word 'immolate' earlier this week, when I used it, casually, in a sentence. I should be less of an academic snob, because it's mean of me, but it does wind me up.

    Don't worry about not commenting – there's no pressure to. Ever 😀 And read what you want, when you want – I hold no obligations over you Dana 🙂 Thank you though, for reading 🙂


  6. I'm not really sure why I write, I just like to do it. I feel like I can express my thoughts better on paper (or on the screen) better than I can verbally. I've always been that way. Loved your post at Kristi's place – sorry I didn't comment, but I was having trouble formulating a coherent thought at that time. But know that even if you don't hear from me, I'm here and I'm reading what you have to say.


  7. Thanks Bryan. And hey – if you're interested in mental health, DEFINITELY check out Beth's post up there.

    I'm glad that you do this – the system truly needs changing. It sucks.

    Humour I like for learning to connect – it's just something I don't think I have a good grasp on in writing (which is a shame, cos I'm a hoot in real life…)

    Interesting that you identify it as being about power. That gives ME something to think about. Thank you…


  8. ha, yes yours went up yesterday! when I saw the date (18th) I thought it was a few days ago….shows you what being home a few days with a sick kid will get ya! I'm lost! 🙂
    It was a touching, amazing post. LOVE.


  9. Your post got me thinking about why I started blogging. When I write about mental health, I am passionate and opinionated, finding it cathartic to express my frustration with the system, and trying to influence and persuade others along the way.

    The humour blogging is different, more about making a connection and having an impact on another human being. Shared amusement about those ridiculous moments in life promotes well being and a togetherness.

    Perhaps most of the above are about using power in different ways, to influence and impact on others.

    Anyway, a thought-provoking topic as usual, addressed in an intelligent way.


  10. Not sure…..

    Thanks though 😀 And I'd say unread(ish) until needed is still fine. Signposts don't need to be dynamic or drawing big crowds – they just need to BE there.


  11. LOL! You like it then? Do I infer that?

    Read all of them – they're all SO good. And, uh. My house is dirty and earlier last night someone decided that I must be a vampire because of the never sleeping. So there's that…


  12. It's stunning. I was totally completely utterly gobsmacked by it. Just the REALMS of world I'm so protected from, just by virtue of who I am, what I do and where I live. You're totally welcome – I want to share it more. I feel like everyone should get the chance to see it and have a good Think.

    Beth did amazingly. It's so hard to support someone when they're in the grips of mental illness. And it's shockingly prevalent and yet so few talk about it – so we all feel aloneish. Those barriers need to tumble…


  13. Hey, but look – she's writing the same as you did – about breaking the cycle and learning to be kind, and NOT passing on those negative thoughts to the next generation.

    And eventually, at some point, those ideas will stick. They'll become internalised and the mental dialogue of the next generation will be full of body positives…that's the plan, right?

    I know a little of your story. And maybe one day, when you're ready and you've got that Brave a little bit bigger, I'll get to read more. Until then, I'm content just to know you and be your friend xXx


  14. you're so incredibly welcome – I'm just thrilled to pieces I was able to share it. Reading that one was a true privilege – I know you've been struggling over whether or not to share those very personal things, and you wrote it so stunningly. I was completely blown away by it.

    I *think* my piece there only went up yesterday…I'm just not sure whose yesterday any more. I like it. I wrote it for a reason. It seems a little too close to the bone for some though,,,however, I'm glad it's out there.

    You matter. But I'm glad you've recognised that for yourself. *MASSIVEHUGS*


  15. OWWWW! I can definitely see those feelings needing an outlet! Good grief! What a pain in the ass 😦 That's seriously Not Right. But hey, Good came of it – you write now (I assume) for more of the reasons than just suddenly needing an outlet, and we are the beneficiaries as we get to know you and read your words.

    Thank you for the compliment on my little Considerette. I quite like her. And I don't know that I'd be up to a whole book, but I'd LOVE to know more 😀


  16. There's the thing though – to get the benefits, there's no requirement to be writing every day…do it as often as it suits you – it's still all those things.

    I'm glad you've felt compelled to keep going. I always liked your blog so much, even before I 'met' you properly and we started talking. Whenever I'd click into it from 7QT, and I'd see your header, I'd get this little “Oh goody” moment, and know it was going to be well worth reading.

    The connections are AWESOME. Definitely the second-best part of the whole endeavour. Or maybe the first-best.


  17. Drat. Why did I miss out fun! Duh! It's SO fun, as well.

    WHY have you been trying to give up? I know that you've gone through oscillations between loving it and querying about whether or not to shut everything down…I'm just glad you're still here.

    It's all priceless 😀


  18. How many LOVE'S can I put here? LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE……………………………………………….(It's just easier to lay my finger on the period key…………………………………………….)

    Yes yes and more YES!!!! How many- ah hell, you know!!! YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES………………………………………………………………………………

    Anxious to read that post that took your breath…. how DO you read so many posts and get around the globe so fast? YOU are SANTA!!!


  19. I've read Don of all trades' post..loved it. As the daughter of a policeman, I appreciate it even more. Thank you for sending me that way.
    Beth's I read already. That one hit home, too, as I have a sister with some serious mental health issues. She wrote about her experience so very well.
    I'm off to the others now.


  20. Oh holy jesus, just read Kasey Edward's post and my heart is in my throat. *Tears* Reminds me of my post, “sticks and stones aren't shit compared to words.”

    If you only knew…..


  21. First, I thank you for adding my post last minute. It means THEWORLD that you thought so much of it to add it to this list. Not kidding when I say I'm honored.

    I still need to read the others, but I jumped to your post on Kristi's (ages ago? twas the other day!) Our Land and…..*sigh*… perfect. Empathy is SO SO important. And yes, every life matters. I remember hearing that years ago, and it stuck with me profoundly. I think when I heard that – really heard it in my heart – I gave myself permission. To matter.


  22. I had to come back and tell you I read Kasey Edwards post…WOW!! And thanks for sharing. It's a great reminder to me not to say those kinds of things about myself, not only in front of my daughter, not ever!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!


  23. You know, you may be right, Lizzi. I started my blog out of complete frustration right after the Fab Hub suddenly lost his job and I was completely furious at the fact that I couldn't quit mine. (We were at the same place of employment. So while I would have loved to follow him out the door, somebody had to keep a steady check and benefits. How's that for “not right”?) Anyway, I just needed an outlet – a place to do something that made me happy and it has in so many ways.

    By the way – I love your stick dudes. I am also a stick dude person – it's the only thing I can draw, but damn they're pretty good! I can do stick men, stick women, stick dogs, stick trees, stick fish, stick sticks…but I really like yours. 🙂


  24. I haven't blogged for a long time but I have to say that it's definitely an outlet for a lot of feelings and thoughts and sometimes just fun stuff to post and share with others. I have thought about quitting before but people like you, Lizzi, have come to my rescue, picked me up and encouraged me to keep going, thanks for that. I also love the connections I have made, different struggles but it's so interesting who we connect with. I'll try to check those links now 🙂


  25. Yes. Writing. I've tried to give up blogging and so far, since 2008, I haven't been able to, haha. It's just fun, you know?
    And yes, the connections, the friendships are all amazing. 🙂 Really, blogging and writing is priceless. 🙂


Comments are where the magic happens...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s