The Prettiest Girl.

“Brent’s grandma hung his photographs from her walls.

Wynn’s grandma owned a pair of those tiger ears and was a Chippewa because he was a Chippewa. 

Andrew’s grandma watched him swing and miss during t-ball and was there to see him get his first hit.

Kellen’s grandma loved how much he reminded her of a young Joe.

Erika’s grandma was thankful for another girl and the cheesy grin cemented on her face.

My grandma whispered in my ear, ‘My Emmy, you’re the prettiest girl in the world.’

Today, heaven’s getting the prettiest girl there ever was.”

Writing, to me at this moment, is entirely emotional, exhausting and unending. In my family, I’m known as the writer; the one who will find the right words, evoke the right emotions, sing the right tune. I have a million answers to the prompt, “Why I Write,” but I don’t have the one answer as to how to express those answers. The swamp I am wading through consists of confusion in form, style and structure for my first essay as an official member of the Fall 2012 cohort for a Sweetland Minor in Writing.

Writing, to me at this moment, is freeing, uplifting and necessary. I know why I write, but I don’t know how to tell you. I don’t know how to go about successfully depicting my act of writing. Because it’s mine. All mine. It’s personal. It’s hard. It’s always emotional. It’s always undervalued to the naked eye. Writing, to me at this moment, needs a mode of expression. I need to find a way to tell you my story and let you inside my thoughts.

I wrote and spoke the excerpt above on behalf of Brent, Wynn, Andrew, Kellen, Erika & I two Thursdays ago. I like to think that those words helped heal our hearts. I write because words are the only things that seem enough. To us, those words told the story of a grandmother’s love.

But I don’t know how to show you that – to show you the emotion that I’m yearning for. I don’t know how to tell that I write because I have to.

The Stories of Heroes.

“We all are who we are – until that moment when we strive for something greater.

In the end, I suppose there are easier ways to share life’s most valuable lessons with my sons [Theo and Jonas]. There were moments when I thought about doing it Mr. Miyagi style and teaching it through karate. But I don’t like karate. And so I do the only thing I know how to do: I tell a story.”

                        – Brad Meltzer, Heroes for My Son (2010) 

I firmly believe that author Brad Melter’s mission for his 2010 hardcover that sits upon my shelf was simple and genuine: To tell the stories of individuals worthy of his sons’ admiration and respect.  To give his sons a collection of advice and innovation as they grow into men. To encourage them to be all they are until that moment when they can decide to strive for something greater.

May my mission in writing be as genuine as his.

POSTSCRIPT.

I wish the terms “wax on, wax off” and “grasshopper” were a more dominate feature in my everyday conversation. Making it happen, people.

 

Word.

…Words are powerful. Language changes lives. The letters of the alphabet give me identity, purpose, dreams and often happiness (or is it happyness?). I wholeheartedly pursue relationships through communication. I love with words. I hurt with words. I remember not with just crinkled images and faded pictures, but with narration to tell the story…

All these thoughts streamed through my head while reading the motives behind why some guy named Big Brother, I mean George Orwell, wrote. He says, “When I was about sixteen I suddenly discovered the joy of mere words, i.e. the sounds and associations of words.” Sure, I have lists upon lists of my favorite words: wasps, banana, radii, squash, Trigonometry. But why write? Why continually place yourself in moments of vulnerability and exposure? Well Mr. Orwell, I’m glad you brought this up.

To write is to risk yourself – a broken daughter, a failing sister – for all to see. “And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane,” Orwell says. Telling my perception of the story and entering the conversation is revealing. I feel that writing is as raw of an act that there can be. It’s abstract thought turned into artifacts you can hold in the palm of your hand.

Andrew Sullivan agrees in a different sphere, saying, “To blog is therefore to let go of your writing in a way, to hold it at arm’s length, open it to scrutiny, allow it to float in the ether for a while, and to let others, as Montaigne did, pivot you toward relative truth.” Truth is raw.

I’m also a collector of so-called “lines” – the phrases or language combinations that are able to be both written and spoken with conviction. It’s as if I want to mental archive all of my Aha! moments with words. But for the first time, I had an Aha! moment by way of disagreement. Sullivan says, “Words, of all sorts, have never seemed so now.” Really, blogger Andrew? Words have never gone out of style. Words have never flown south for the decade. Words will never not be powerful. It’s the people that we have to get to listen to them.