Today is the National Day on Writing, so I thought I’d share some words I put together while writing with my students this week.
I write because, most of the time, it’s easier for me than speaking. I can carefully consider each word and craft exactly what I want to say without having to repeat myself and without fear of being misunderstood. Writing frees my brain of the thoughts that consume so much space and energy. When I put it on paper, I can separate myself from the problem and release the pain.
When I was 19, I was having a difficult time dealing with the 10 year anniversary of my father’s death. I had so many unanswered questions, and I was angry with him for abandoning us. I wrote a letter–I assume it said everything I was thinking, but I don’t really remember. After I finished it, I sealed it in an envelope, drove to a small lake on the north side of town, and set the letter on fire, watching the feathery ashes drop into the murky water. That action released me. The anger and rage dissipated from my soul like the smoke from the scorched paper. Burning the letter didn’t erase all of my memories and questions, but there was something symbolic about it that put me at ease and allowed me to move beyond despair. I felt lighter and liberated.