Then, on the first day of my summer vacation in PEI, when normally I would start attacking a pile of whodunnits, I opened my journal and began to gather my thoughts on paper. I wrote 5 pages of ramblings in my first sitting. The reading dropped off to almost nil, as I quickly poured my heart into a journal. My introspective observations spilled out of me like a bloodletting.
Over the course of the next month, I couldn't stop. If I was involved in some other activity, my mind inadvertently drifted into composing. Sitting on the sidelines of a soccer practise, my pen flowed. Sitting up in the bleachers of a softball game, I watched and composed in my head at the same time. At the beach, in the car, in my garden, on a noon hour walk, late at night, even at dinner parties.........my write brain was chugging away churning out ideas, poems, thoughts, rants, stories of the past and present. Early morning risings, usually consisted of a hot cup of tea and me sitting at the dining room table or in front of the computer jotting. For the first time in many years, I didn't question what I was writing. I had no specific goal in mind. In fact, most of what I was spewing was just that...........diary-like spew. It was an unrelenting flow.
Why? Why now? How come? Where is this stuff coming from?
These questions did pop up , as they did with my family who were stunned that my hands were freer without a book in them all the time. What hasn't been "freer" or as attentive has been my overactive synapses firing on all cylinders, which has unexpectedly forced the other daily stuff I'm supposed to remember to do or think about right out my ears! I have been in my head with a glazed writer's faraway look in her eyes. It is a huge shift for everyone.
Thinking, ruminating, contemplating, wondering, exploring, imploring, expanding, distracting, dissecting, ..................Learning.
Unlike most activities in my life, I had the patience this time to allow the words to flow on seemingly unrelated topics and to trust that the reason for my hungry desire to write would be shown to me. To some extent, it has.
Things don't just happen out of the blue. They don't. My writing desire returned to me just before a big event in my life, and one that I was quite nervous about. Last summer, I returned to my "roots" after a 20+ year absence. I went to a camp reunion. Living out east, far away from the Haliburton Highlands where I spent many summers at a time when one is formulatingly considering the big questions, when one is developing lifelong relationships with friends, I had let all those important components and relationships slip away. I had compartmentalized them, stepping away and into another phase of my life. Though I had never tired of talking about "those times" and "those people" it wasn't part of my daily existance. The realization, coming just before reuniting with my past, prompted me to write. Interestingly, my writing hasn't been as prolific since my early adulthood, when I was hooked into camp.
My desire to evaluate my religious beliefs also resurfaced after a very long time. It was at camp that I felt the most connected to God and the most open to His guidance. So, it makes sense that I would begin to reevaluate where I was at. It was time. I was receptive.
Between then and last summer, I stumbled and squawked and dissed religion, for various reasons. Most predominantly, I was involved in a teaching/counselling job where I was affronted by many born again fundamentalists that seemed so alien to me with their perceived "acceptance without questioning" belief in Jesus Christ. Through my work, I was also counselling many struggling clients on Welfare who were active members in the Pentecostal Church, a congregation that I was unfamiliar with growing up. The more I tried to help them learn how to help themselves move forward and leave their financial and emotional quandry, the more they would balk at taking the reins themselves. Our core beliefs clashed, and I dismissed religion. Admittedly, I dissed their lifestyle.
As I continued to write into the fall and throughout the winter, some events emerged that were unpredicable, and have impacted the write side of my brain. In September, I received a letter informing me that my Kawabi, my home away from home, was closing for good after a 40 year run. And from that ending, a bunch of beginnings emerged. A website was created for all staffers and a weekend staff celebration is just around the corner in May. Through those two events evolved a reconnection with old friends, and introductions with new individuals who weren't on staff with me, but who followed in my footsteps and enjoyed their time on the shores of Big Hawk Lake. Despite age and friendship differences, our similarities in core values and beliefs have allowed us to quickly forge new bonds........through writing.
The power of correspondance. The power of shared ideas and thoughts.
My writing was spurred on, as I learned that really what I have been doing is revisiting my past, and merging it with my present to form a sense of personal wholeness that I havent felt in a long long time.
Who knew? I sure didn't when I finally picked up my pen again 9 months ago, that there was a strong underlying reason for me to document. And it continues.................
Writing and reading are more opposite activities than I realized. At first, it felt as though I just didn't have time to read the amount that I used to. But, it's more than that. A reading mind must be settled and focused in a much more sedentary way. A writing mind, though focused, is an unsettled jumble of colour, a ball of wool that wants to be unravelled. It's a focused energy that when it is flowing without the concept of time, is a marvellously frenetic activity of creative output. However, reading fills an empty vessel. Reading feeds the writing soul. One needs a balance of both.
My reading didn't completely stop. In fact, the material I am reading has changed. The "whodunnits" that once satisfied my entertainment need have now been replaced with non-fiction and Christian related testimonials that feed my desire to learn and to seek answers to the questions that I had put on the backburner.
Whether it's a topic related to my religious belief system, my political beliefs, or my approach to my home and work, it turns out that my writing does have a thread that connects. It is through my writing that I have begun to reestablish my foundation...........of who I was and who I am. It's a merging of the faces and roles of me. The timing of this is not lost on me, nor is the sense that I have a higher power guiding me through my journey out of the wilderness and into a deeper understanding of what makes me tick.
What I have learned? The act of writing is transcendent. The moments when my writing takes me out of myself, when it lifts me into a medidative space and engages me in a creative joust, is the time I am most in touch with God.