You know, one of the things that I’m learning about writing a blog is that it is somewhat therapeutic. Cathartic. Healing.
It remedies some issues that I may with any given issue, and it helps me to organize my thoughts and think an issue or a problem through to a reasonable conclusion or solution, whatever that may be. It’s not something that I anticipated when I started on this little journey, but as I make my way to my desired destination, it certainly has been a welcome surprise.
When it works, that is.
Sometimes when I write about an issue, I’m discovering that this well of healing that I dig into isn’t quite accessible as it once was, and the issue I’m dealing with stews in my soul, unresolved and bothersome.
That’s true for something I wrote a while back. I thought I had dealt with a given issue within my post…but turns out, I guess I didn’t, because I’m still stewing about it.
Granted, I recognize that at some point, the bigger issue here is that I am going to have to learn to let go. Clearly, you can’t control people’s behaviors and actions, but you can control your response to them. That’s nothing new, and I readily acknowledge that I have to modify my own behavior so that it doesn’t get under my skin.
That said, I’m still annoyed.
A while ago, I wrote a blog post called All That I Am. In that blog, I talked about the difficulties of professing to be a writer and the reactions of people when you tell them that. One of those comments was this one:
“Wow, you write? You must have a lot of free time on your hands.”
I have to tell you, that was like a slap in the face.
What exactly did that mean, I must have a lot of free time? That writing is only valuable when you have nothing else to do? Or perhaps my time should be better spent doing something else?
Or worse, that when I do have a lot of free time, why waste it by writing?
You know, people love to spew that old adage: “Children can be so cruel.” Well, guess what? Those cruel children grow up to be cruel adults.
I don’t take my writing lightly. As a matter of fact, I take it pretty seriously. I look at it as a way to expand my horizons, and to broaden opportunities for me and my family. I use at it as a way to improve my communication skills. Through my writing, I imagine that I can write a best-selling novel—or at least sell enough copies so that I can leave my current profession (sorry future linguists, but I’ve had my fill). At times, I write as a means to address the ills that I see in society, and sometimes I use it for mirth and levity, if not for others, then definitely for my own amusement. Every once in a while, I write to heal—perhaps others, but more likely myself.
And of course, there’s the whole horror thing I’ve got going on. Can’t forget about that.
Regardless, the notion that writing is a waste of time—because let’s face it, that’s what this person was implying—is nonsense. Why even make a comment like that?
Writing—and writing well—takes work. It takes determination. It takes skill. And it takes drive. In a life when you have a million things going on—playing wife, playing mother, playing employee—finding a few precious minutes in the day to do what you love is no small feat. It’s the opposite. And when I decide to put my pen to paper, I strive to write something meaningful. I’m not into drivel just for the hell of it, you know what I mean?
And I think that this is true for anyone pursing their passion, whatever it is.
When I think of all the great books of literature that span the shelves of the great libraries of the world to the average person’s personal library, never once has it occurred to me that someone was wasting their time. Oh, sure, I may not have liked what was written, or I might never recommend that particular title to anyone, but that’s because I don’t have a preference for that particular book or story. Not because someone was wasting their time.
Jeez, how completely insensitive.
I remember when the first copy of my book came home. I was completely ecstatic. Overjoyed. Elated. Superman himself could not have brought me back down to earth, despite his immeasurable strength and best efforts. That sense of accomplishment was like nothing I have ever known. I mean, let’s be clear, some people will spend their whole life talking about writing a book, but I had actually done it. Me. Elizabeth John. I mean, really, who would have thought it possible?
And yet, it was possible, because I had made it so. I had stayed up late night after night, writing my stories, imagining my characters. I had sacrificed hours and hours of sleep, risked carpal tunnel syndrome, suffered some serious eye strain and sported some heavy bags under my eyes in order to get this done. My children saw less of me, and my husband swore I was neglecting him. But I wrote on, I persevered, and for all my trouble, my hard work, my blood, my sweat, and my tears, I did it. I made it happen.
So how is that a waste of time?
I wanted to tell this acquaintance that in fact that I had the same amount of free time as she did, but I chose to investment my personal time doing something I loved and enjoyed. I wanted to tell her that time is a precious thing, we only have a finite amount of it, and if we are going to make the most of it, it should be doing what we love, and not trampling on the esteem of others because of it. I wanted to tell her all these things, but I didn’t, because when I looked at her, I realized that she would never see, never know, and never understand.
She was completely oblivious and my words to her would not have touched her in any way.
It would have been a colossal waste of time, and quite frankly, I had better things to do.