So I’m 50. I’m trying to figure out why I still write. I do still write. Been writing for thirty years. Wanted to be famous for writing. I’m not famous for writing. But here I am, still writing. So. What’s up with that?
I just posted something wherein I talked about how I want what I write to be true and helpful and compassionate. How that’s the only reason to keep at it. Ha! I mean. All of that is hard. Even one of those things (true OR helpful OR compassionate). So I’ve (maybe) made it so that nothing I write will ever meet that mark. But I don’t know. Maybe it will. Maybe let’s just take it one at a time. What does it mean for something I write to be “true”?
We’re all writing in a moment when it seems like it had to have happened to you. That’s a kind of truth. One that — if we’re really open to all the things that really did happen, have happened, are happening — trumps all the others. (I used that verb on purpose.) But my son has a book, he got it for Christmas. It’s an encyclopedia. With pictures. He’s three. One chapter is “Humans.” Another is “Today & Tomorrow.” Not to mention “Universe,” and “Earth,” and “Matter.” So many truths. They pre-date us. They’ll outlast us all.
I happen to be listening to some music as I write this. It’s a musician I listen to a lot. The lyrics, right this moment, are “Sunday mornings I’m too tired to go to church / But I thank God for the work.” The song is called “Something More Than Free.” And it strikes me that what is true to me, for me — what passes the test of truth in what I write — has to do with this sort of work. What I’m working for is something more than free. Something that may, more or (probably) less, stand in the place of worship. If it feels like that, then it’s probably true. To me, for me. Maybe even for others. It doesn’t have to be facts. It doesn’t have to have happened to me. It just has to feel like this: No more holes to fill. No more rocks to break. No more loading boxes on the truck for someone else’s sake. You see the hammer finds the nail and the poor man’s up for sale. I guess I’m doing what I’m on this earth to do… And the day will come, I’ll find a reason, somebody proud to love a man like me. My back is numb, my hands are freezing. What I’m working for is something more than free.
What does that mean? Oh. Gosh. I guess I don’t know, or can’t say. It’s something I feel and can’t fudge. I trust (hope, anyway) it is the same for you. Amen.