There’s great writing and there’s hokiness and what I’m about to relate will probably fall into the second category.
It’s still a great story, though.
One of my favorite television shows of all time, no secret, is “West Wing.” The second season’s Christmas episode is one of my favorites of the series: Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lymon is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and has to see a shrink when he starts breaking things in private, but on purpose. His direct supervisor, Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, meets Josh after the session, bathed in the Christmas lights in the lobby. Josh is on his way to recovery but embarrassed at his own behavior, and Leo, who is a recovering addict, tells Josh a story. I’ll paraphrase.
So this guy is walking down the street and falls into a hole. He begs people who pass by to help him out, but none of them can seem to help him. They throw all kinds of junk down into the hole that don’t help the situation.
Then his friend sees him in the hole and jumps in. “What are you, crazy?” asks the first guy. “Now we’re both down here.” “Yeah,” answers his friend, “but I’ve been here before, and I know how to get out.”
I don’t know what made me think of that.
I am probably writing the most that I have ever written in my life since college; even more than this past spring when I quit, even more than NaNoWriMo. The writing grounds me. While my family rots in front of video games, television, and web surfing, I pull up to my typing table and push the pen across the page, or compose blogs and reviews. All of it, all of those words, are written for me. I could tell the world I’m lonely, like a dried bone along the road, and I could express it in half a dozen status messages and posts and tweets but it would fall into the abyss and never hit bottom. So I write for me.
This weekend it began to rain. I was so lonely that I just sat and listened to it after the television had been stilled. The rain sounded like a friend, whispering secrets in the dark, telling me to listen, shut up and listen, Jo. I finished reading a book this weekend and moved about my room, restless for a story to soothe myself. I found that what I wanted I could write.
This past summer I met a vacationing writer from Leeds, England who made friends with me immediately, no questions asked. There seems to be no way to scare her off, regardless of what I write. She likes my blog “Notes From Sea Level.” I love her taste in books (Armistead Maupin), artwork (photos, sculpture, and pottery), and travel (she loves my City as much as I do). She knows I am missing my writing groups, and she wants to stay accountable to her writing. So every other day or so we meet on Facebook, call the gunshot from the horse-race, write like fiends for 90 minutes, and get back on Facebook to check in.
By the end of each session I’m FLYING. But then, I’m writing the book I would read to heal right now.