Epictetus is attributed to the quote, “If you wish to be a writer, write.” So a few strokes of the keys and…voila…here I am! Being a good writer or a professional writer is a different thing entirely. But writing feels good so I’m picking it up again.
As a painfully awkward sixth grader, I poured out all my middle school drama into a little pink journal with a tin key and lock. I couldn’t even tell you what I wrote about, but I do remember that I made stuff up. Lots of stuff. Even in a journal to myself that no one else was meant to read, I made up stories to help make sense of my insecurities, my loneliness, my twelve year old baggage. One day my mother found my journal, and for reasons I can only hypothesize, she read it. Try and explain made up stories in a journal to your mother. Fortunately, the stories were so implausible that my mother doubted their authenticity and I was sent to therapy instead of a Swiss boarding school. (Yes, you’re right, I did go to an American boarding school, but that’s a different story).
When I graduated from high school I was gifted a journal by a beloved mentor and cheerleading coach, Marlys Johnson. Marlys had gone to live in Germany on a missionary base when she was fresh out of high school, and I was following her example and heading to join Youth With a Mission in Spain. Marlys encouraged me to pour out my experiences on the blank pages bound in blue and white fabric, and over the next four years I journaled religiously. I wrote about my time in Madrid, the endless summer heat, my daily prayers for Catholics to find Jesus, and the Italian restaurant around the corner with plantain pizza and a killer sangria that I miss to this day. There were a few entries about my 48 hour flirtation with agnosticism, and several dozen about my first, no-holds-barred heartbreak with a boy from Liverpool.
For well over a decade now, my writing has been sporadic and limited. There is a story there. It was never a matter of laziness or lack of motivation. Until we know each other better, let us simply say I took a sabbatical. I always knew I would return to it. Certainly didn’t think it would take as long as it did, but c’est la vie. I like myself much better when I write, and others do to. So 2015…I will become a writer again.