My mother has been encouraging me for years to write a little something every single day. She says that it is one of the only ways to improve this often neglected skill. While I have always believed her, I have never followed her advice.
However, over the past week or so I have written more consistently than I have in years. I love it! I didn’t know how much I was missing putting a pen to paper and fingers to a keyboard. It’s therapeutic.
In many ways, it is the exact opposite of the therapy that I get from running. When I run, my mind is often focused on nothing. I don’t think about my problems, the current political crises, and tricky theological issues. If my mind is focused on anything at all, it is focused on putting one foot in front of the other and remembering to breathe. When I run, I escape. My problems don’t go away. The world keeps turning. For an hour or so, I don’t care. It’s glorious.
When I sit down to write, my mind goes in a million different directions. What am I going to say today? How am I going to say it? Am I going to talk about politics? Am I going to talk about religion? Am I in a humorous mood or sober one? I let all the thoughts that running kept at bay come crashing back. Then I simply pick up a pen or open a laptop and begin to write.
My love of writing can be traced to my third grade teacher—Ms. Luker.
I wrote my first book in her class. It was titled The Great Goat Escape. As parents are wont to do, it is stored somewhere in their home with other crafts and school projects that somehow escaped the trash bin. The content of the book is self-explanatory. I’ve never been one for obscure titles. Honesty is the best policy in writing and in life.
Since the third-grade my love of writing has only grown. It was encouraged by my mother who carefully monitored what I read. She wasn’t so much sheltering me from bad ideas, but bad books. As Louisa May Alcott once penned, “. . . [O]nly remember, my girl, that one may read at forty what is unsafe at twenty, and that we never can be too careful what food we give that precious yet perilous thing called imagination.” How much more true that statement for young people under the age of twenty!
Interestingly, I have found that the books that are best for the young reader are really the best books for the reader of any age. Each time I pick up an old friend, I know what I am going to find within its pages. Each time, I am pleasantly surprised that the old friend still has something new and wonderful to teach me. Truly good books never grow old. Truly good friendships don’t either.
I don’t know if I will ever write a book (and if I ever do I sincerely doubt it will be a classic), but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to imitate in some small way the great authors. The ability to communicate your thoughts and emotions non-verbally in such a way that other people enter into them is a skill that can be used for a multitude of purposes.
Writing helps to order one’s thoughts. Out of chaos comes order.
Is there really anything in the world that brings joy quite like imprisoning a passing thought in a well-ordered sentence? I think not.
I hope that anyone who stumbles upon this blog enjoys the content even half as much as I enjoy writing it. It was started in order to chronicle my adventures studying abroad in Ireland and to share the best adventures (and calamities) with my friends and family back home. So, dear reader, if you don’t mind and even if you do, I am going to keep writing. Cheers.
Keep good company, read good books, love good things and cultivate soul and body as faithfully as you can. – Louisa May Alcott
There was another reason [she] took her books whenever they went away. They were her home when she was somewhere strange. They were familiar voices, friends that never quarreled with her, clever, powerful friends — daring and knowledgeable, tried and tested adventurers who had traveled far and wide. Her books cheered her up when she was sad and kept her from being bored. –