Some people ask if writing these blog posts “makes me feel better.” Sure. I am a writer; I love to write; I am a nicer person when I write. But I never saw myself as a blogger.
This blog began last fall, part of my effort to publish a book with the working title Embracing Chaos. I was told to “build a media platform,” and then find an agent.
But the purpose of blogging was the same as the purpose of the book that gave rise to it, and that wasn’t to vent feelings and attract sympathy. I can bash trash can lids together and stamp to vent. I can also journal to vent – journaling is really the same thing as bashing trash can lids. The purpose of writing essays about Owen is to understand him (for me first) and then, to share him. Not everyone has an Owen, and I don’t like to be piggy.
But what I have found is that the more I write about Owen, the more I can see him. Writing opens my mind up to his, just as a daily practice of sketching opens the eye to really see tiny leaf edges, or the way shadow tones round a fruit, or the specific shape that light makes on an eyebrow which when replicated will make the owner’s face emerge from the paper. In writing about my son, I am trying to show you what has taken me every minute of Owen’s 21 years to truly see: how much person is in this person, behind the behaviors. What there is to embrace in the chaos he creates.
I was trying to show me first. Because it’s hard to be truly human, and much easier to whine and drag my feet, or stamp and roar about how rough things are for me. These are not what I would describe as truly human behaviors. These are all the things my chickens do. You should see my chickens vent and whine on a very cold morning. You might not like to see how they take out any frustration or anxiety they are feeling on the head of any lesser chicken passing by.
In writing I am trying to capture something of the truly human, inside the animal, me. I am trying to find and capture in words the part of me and the part of Owen that has real and lasting value, to each other and to the world.
I think you’re succeeding. I feel like I’m getting to know both of you through your writing and appreciate you sharing it.
Thanks Jill for reading and for the affirmation.
There’s no end to the reasons writing and sharing through language are valuable. It’s been my lifeline many times, not to mention the number of times people have responded deeply to something I’ve written that touches their own experience. The more we can understand other people’s experiences, the better. So keep writing.
Thanks Alaina. Yep, I have always loved to write, does seem to be kind of like breathing, doesn’t it?