I used to write. When I was in college I used to buy cheap composition books and write until they were full. Not just journal/diary writing, but try-to-improve-myself-write-stories-share-stories-life-stories kind of writing. I still love writing on my blog when I can but, for me, to pick up a pen and write longhand brings something else out of me; a different "voice."
I used to show my students pages from my notebooks because, well, they're a mess. They are scribbly and winding and I draw arrows to insert and rearrange, but mostly I just write. I write and I don't care if it's perfect. And this is why I would show them to my students: because I think this is where all true writing must start-- in the heart, in that place where things are jumbled and imperfect but bursting and rushing out of you just the same. I wanted them to see, like Anne Lamott always says, that you write the first draft with your heart.
I dug out a few of my old notebooks recently and spent some time flipping through them. A lot of the stories I have shared here at some point or another [in their more edited, perfect form]. But there are a few that I found hidden in their pages that I had forgotten about. One such story I wrote while on an airplane to Seattle, just before I took a cruise to Alaska with my friend, Micah. Here is that story:
People fascinate me. And so as I look out my window of the plane I see a marvelous landscape of carved out mountains, but next to me I see a woman who actually uses the word "marvelous" when she speaks. She ordered chardonnay and looks at me through her "Tiff. & Co." glasses and tells me the time from her Coach watch. She showed me a picture of her grandkids and explained that the seven year old and her are kindred spirits; they are both spiritual and interested in ethereal things. She said she can live on a little when she retires because she's already experienced the 4000 square foot beach house. She travels Monday through Thursday for her job, and she relaxes on the weekends by curling up with her cat, Willow, a glass of wine, and a book.
She said she is very ready to get back to the zero humidity in California and the more tolerant viewpoints, "but I'm not trying to be mean…it's just a different culture." She stopped going to church every Sunday when she was in college because she believes God is in all of us and we are just supposed to love. She was an early reader and read Jane Eyre and Little Women when she was just six years old. When I shared that I was a teacher, she didn't want to "get into politics," but said that she was glad we have a president who believes in the importance of education. She sees herself as a liberal humanitarian.
She passed on the peanuts and eats a quesadilla with fresh guacamole and pico de gallo. She's traveled to Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and more. She sleeps with her mouth wide open.
She fascinates me. I do not aspire to be her, nor do I agree with her on a lot, but she fascinates me. I do not aspire to be her, but she fascinates me and I am thankful we are all created differently. I am thankful we all have stories to share.