So here I am. At my new digs in cyberspace. What am I doing here? I’m not exactly sure. When I started Both Hands, Ruthie was only a few months old and my whole life felt frenetic. Both Hands was a place for me to publicly make sense of my life during those years. I really stopped writing regularly when my marriage ended because I just didn’t have the energy. Divorce is like swimming through a tunnel of mud. Especially when you have children. I spent this past year adjusting to life as a single, working mother with a new, very challenging job. When the school year ended, it was like I was spit out of that tunnel of mud and it took a summer of nothing for me to begin to feel like myself again.
Now that I’ve arrived on the other side of myself, it seems appropriate for me begin writing again for real. My favorite thing about writing is that it has its own agenda. When I sit down to write Something, Something becomes a creature I didn’t plan for. And as I begin to see Something take shape itself on the page, I learn. About discovering herself as a writer, Joan Didion, whom I adore, wrote this:
All I knew then was what I wasn’t, and it took me some years to discover what I was.
Which was a writer.
By which I mean not a “good” writer or a “bad” writer but simply a writer, a person whose most absorbed and passionate hours are spent arranging words on pieces of paper. Had my credentials been in order I would never have become a writer. Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write. I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.
I revisited this text, a cornerstone for me, because I felt as though I’d lost my voice as a writer. Of course I’d lost my voice. And since my mind naturally tends toward focusing on what I am not (even when I am), I began to wonder if maybe I’m NOT really a writer. And then I read this. Where Joan Didion arrives at herself as a writer because it was the only way she could make sense of things. And so I return to writing as a means of making sense of myself and my life as it is now.
What the content of this place will be, I don’t know yet. I’m still groping the walls for the light switch. But I will be here. Every day. For one year. Public, like a frog.
Oh! And, on occasion, you’ll get a two-fer: my writing, David‘s pictures.