What seems like four hundred years ago; before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress or even MySpace existed; before Apple, before Windows, before PC’s, Lap tops and even before word processors; there were yellow pads, composition notebooks and black Bic Pens. These were and still are my favorite tools of expressive writing.
I can remember being a wee tot visiting and being awed by the supply room at my father’s company. All of those shelves just full of colored papers, notebooks, steno pads, yellow pads, packages of pens and pencils, markers and the like! Whenever I was there visiting I was allowed to go into that room and select some paper and pens to work with. I always selected the notebooks and pens and I can still recall being thrilled to sit at a “big person desk” and scratch away as if I were working hard for the company! Looking back, I truly believe those times shaped my love of new pens and notebooks.
In the sixth grade we studied “The Diary of Anne Frank” and it is this book that I credit as being the impetus of my lifelong love affair with writing. I came away from reading that story with the incredible “new-to-me” idea that I could actually sit down and chronicle my thoughts and feelings about life. Anne Frank decided to think of her diary as a friend, so she named it, “Kitty”. Sixth grade Bobbe thought this was a such a cool idea, I named my own diary, “Monet”. (The memory of this makes me burst into laughter. Monet was actually the given name of our standard poodle who we called, “Moe”, because we all thought the name Monet was too pretentious! Somehow I thought, “Monet” would be a good name for my pretend diary friend. (Don’t Worry, it was short-lived.)
As you might imagine, my sixth-grade diary entries consisted of things that I considered to be earth-shattering at the time, “Dear Monet. Today we went to Actors Theater and we watched the play, ‘Anne Frank’. I was so happy because “so-and-so” sat next to me!” ; “Dear Monet, today Sr. Clara yelled at us for no reason at ALL!”, etc.
Aside: I have searched my house high and low, I know that little diary is hidden in some corner because I was just looking at it laughing. I really wanted to photograph it for this blog. I will keep writing and keep searching and hopefully it will show up in time for me to finish this!’ Until then, here are just a few journals that happen to be sitting within arms reach. The little one is from my 7th and 8th grade years. You can’t really see it but there are two more notebooks underneath the open ones. Yes, I have always written on a regular basis.
Anyway, I made it a practice to write in that little book daily. It may not have been great writing, but it shaped me to make a good habit of recording my thoughts and feelings regularly. Looking back through my writings it strikes me just how much I have always written about my relationship with God and all of the gratitude I have for His presence in my life. Very often my little girl entries were entirely about trying to be a better person in order to please Him. Interesting stuff, considering the fact that other than attending Catholic school and Mass on Sundays, no one in my life was force-feeding me information about God.
As an adult I still find myself drawn to write about my feelings and experiences. Very often, writing is therapy for me, (you may have noticed this if you’ve read any of my prior blog entries), but I have also found through years of blogging on my personal site, that when I share my true life experiences, I am touching others who might be needing a lift or help not feeling alone.
This is really why I write.
I never feel more alive and whole than when I am sharing my heart through my writing. Early in life my little letters to “Monet” gave way to recording the events of each day; who I encountered and how I was feeling about it. That morphed into letters to God, notes to the angels, prayers, and lots of true diary entries that spoke of happiness and excitement but also of depression, confusion and pain. Today as I was leafing through that little journal with the pink writing, I was laughing hysterically, reading aloud to Charlie, some of the incredibly stupid entries. (Occasionally, he would belly-laugh too.) But then I’d come across an unexpected little post about being scared and sad because my parents were downstairs fighting and the memories flood right back. This is another reason I write. It helps me remember where I’ve come from. It reminds me of my strength when I’m not feeling particularly strong, and this is what I want to help others to feel as well.
I can’t remember the occasion for the actual FIRST blog I ever wrote or even what I wrote about, specifically. What I remember, instead, is the flood of thank you emails I received because of it. Somewhere along the line I started incorporating my true life experiences together with how I prayed and learned to cope and the response from total strangers is what compels me to write even to this day. I wasn’t doing anything special. I was just sharing the truth about how hard life sometimes is. What I learned is that there are a gazillion people out there scared to death about what other people might think, so they stay mired in unhappiness and this is why I write. I guess I talk about the things people are scared to talk about, even if it means baring my sometimes ugly past and soul.
I don’t even remember writing that little diary entry up there and that’s a good thing. Seeing it reminds me that all things pass and all things are possible.
And so I continue to write in the hopes my words might find themselves in the heart of the person or persons who most need them. That’s usually what ends up happening.
Life has a way of working out that way.