I was inspired by my friends at TeachingAuthors.com to write this post.
I recently came across a piece of my own journal writing from about ten years ago. I had been reading Joseph Campbell at the time and was in a kind of existentialist reverie when I penned the entry. It is a bit wordy and pretentious, and yet, as I write this seasonally-appropriate post, there is a truth in the journal entry that seems a good starting point. Here it is:
“When I write, the stories and songs and lives and dreams and emotions of the many souls who have traveled through my life coalesce in my mind in a cacophony of energy. I see and hear and feel them as I am empowered to put pen to paper and, through the great mystery of human creativity, find that the journey through the secret labyrinth of my own thoughts and the filter of my own snowflake soul miraculously conceive something uniquely mine.”
And whose stories and songs and lives and dreams and emotions have inspired me the most? Who, or what, has earned my writer’s admiration? Well friends, fact is, I value the mythic insight of Joseph Campbell as much as the solid, loving truisms spoken by my own beloved Granny Bertrim. I recall the grand fantasy works of Tolkien, the novels of L.M. Montgomery, and the music of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom with as much pleasure as the tall tales of my Poppy, the childhood imaginings of my children, and 60’s folk music on the record player. Disney’s short and satisfying animated offerings are as large in my mind as the black-and-white cryptic majesty of “Citizen Kane”.
And there are other, darker, harder memories that are a part of my writing mind, too, folks. Not everything is sunny kitchens and fairy tales. There were poorly-written best sellers I wish I’d never read, hate-mongering popular music I should have turned off, and tedious legalistic business communiques I was forced to plow through. With fresh mental pain do I remember the “C-” and scathing critique I received from my least favorite college professor, the cutting remarks of the horribly mean boss I had during a very difficult time in my life, and the forced cheerfulness of the dinner conversations during long weeks of putting butter noodles and cream of wheat on the dinner table in order to make college tuition payments. News stories of war and suffering often brought tears to my eyes, passing remarks of those around me frequently wounded like a knife, and unexpected change often brought uncertainty and instability just when I was least able to cope.
And today, with all of these thoughts and memories and emotions inside of me, coloring the lens of my mind’s eye…
I let the words pour out.
And it is all me…the pain, the joy, the darkness, and the light.
And so, I thank you. All of you.