the writing life

I mentioned I wanted to reread a favorite of mine: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. And I am. And it is every bit as good as the last two times I read it.

And it reminds me of the beauty of the written word. And the beauty of the act of writing. And the beauty of finding and living stories. 

The other day I was driving and I saw something that reminded me of a poem that reminded me of something I'd been wanting to write about. Which got me thinking about writing and how writer's minds work and how not everyone thinks like that. I was with a friend last week and she said something and I said, "That's a story that needs to be written." She asked, "Is that how your mind works?"

She said she has another friend who "thinks the same way." 
And I realized I don't know how to think any differently.

When I took a poetry class in college the teacher gave us one ongoing assignment for the semester: we were to keep a journal on us at all times, and we were to collect life. It was an assignment for one semester, but it is an assignment I have not been able to shake. I cannot stop collecting life. And once you start collecting life, you can't stop writing either.

I don't always have a journal on me these days, but I have scraps of paper here and there where I've jotted notes, or a new document on the computer, or a note on my phone. Things like:

summer rain
- I want that kind of beauty to happen in me
- girls in backseat [became THIS]
- lake people
- I want to always remember her hiccup [became THIS]
- "The streets were crowded and we got out of work early." -gma Pat, VE day

They aren't detailed, and they mean very little, if anything, to someone else who may happen to read them. But to me? Well, they tell a story, or they invite me into telling one.

I can't just sit on a plane next to someone and not wonder: what is their story? [And sometimes I have the opportunity to get a little bit out of them, and hear it, and it always fascinates me.]

I don't claim to know everything about writing, nor do I claim to be a great writer. But I enjoy it. And I know that my mind thinks like a writer and that it is not something that I can easily shut off.

At the bottom of my blog I've always had this quote from Natalie Goldberg: Become big and write with  the whole world in your arms. The whole world. In your arms. I love that imagery.

We are all carriers of stories that are you unique. I think we are all responsible to tell a good story with our life, yes, but I also think we are responsible for getting to know the stories of others, and to carry them well.

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