write 2020

olw2020

Dear me,

It feels fitting to write a letter reflecting on living a write year. (Isn’t that punny?)  I just read two blog posts about my OLW20: write.

First, Hello 2020, chronicles the way this word barged into my life. I wrote these lines:

There were many years when I invited write into my life, thinking it would be a perfect fit. It always declined my invitation, slipping out of my grasp. Yet, here it was, knocking again and I laughed, proving I’m more cynical than I like to be.

 

I chuckled when I read the line about being more cynical than I like to be. It was the reality of the situation. I had been in conversation with an editor about “the next book,” and I decided to walk away from the project. I knew I would soon become the editor of Choice Literacy, and it would take a lot of my attention and creative energy.

One the heels of the decision to not write another professional book, write comes knocking. 

The next post I read was written in March after more than two months of being silent on the blog. Here, I refer to my word as a brat. It was relentless. Demanding. Insistent. It felt like a cruel joke.

Yet, I faced the post box, and I wrote.

A few weeks later I wrote My Roots are Here. As I read it today, it rings true. Genuine. Real. Authentic. Honest.

On April 1, I threw an SOS into the world.

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The process of sending an SOS and expecting to find magic through Story strengthened my roots. Then something unexpected happened: I began to grow new wings. These wings are so sturdy that it is impossible for them to be new in the sense of infancy. Rather, they are aged and nourished. They are new in their reveal.

I realized that my truth for the word write was quiet and whimsical. Although life has some hard and dark storylines, what I discovered was these hard stories do not need to overshadow whimsy.  I found the need to write the dark storyline of our daughter Stephanie so that I could leave the story on the page. I learned that it is okay for a weary heart to seek magic. 

In the summer, I studied memoir and fell in love with the genre. I learned to unfold stories with whimsy and wisdom. I learned to tell my most precious stories, the ones full of delight, and found that they were not lies. I learned to capture the smallest bits of life and honor them as authentically whole, even as I stepped along gnarled and twisted storylines. My writing became small; I began desiring less. 

I thought it odd that as I lived the word write, I became less of a writer. It is true that I thought this, but I am no longer sure that the thought, I am less of a writer, is true. I am not the writer that I thought I was supposed to become.

I am, perhaps, exactly the writer I am to be.

More importantly, living write allowed me to encourage and uplift others as writers. One of my favorite parts of the life I live is that I get to uplift others’ voices. I edit writing. I have revision conversations. I organize writing groups. I nudge writers. I send texts with writing invitations. I offer topic suggestions. I leave comments on blog posts. I drop notes in the mail. I write social media posts highlighting the writing work of others. 

I’m not sure I would have realized the value and importance of this work if write didn’t insist on intruding in my life in 2020. I am sure, that if write weren’t my companion, I would have ended 2020 a non-writer.

I close this letter with these reminders:

  • Story saves.
  • Writing always gives more than it takes.
  • Being a person to encourage writing is as worthwhile as stacking words on the page.

Enjoy your new wings,
Me


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Won’t you join us?

15 Comments »

  1. Write your life…it’s the only way to save it. A life on paper proves timely, worthy, more concrete. Without my words on paper, would I have known my life’s days? The days are fleeting, catch them before they disappear, without a trace. Write.

  2. “I am less of a writer, is true. I am not the writer that I thought I was supposed to become.” These words are magic to me because after reading your timeline because of the realness…and how I easily I could share your dark time to another friend that is experiencing a very similar situation with her foster son brought me back to you. God Bless your story, your life, your realness. Thanks for letting me know that you are the editor of Choice Literacy…I abandoned soon after my life teaching at Judson came to a close. Much love and wishes for a fabulous 2021 for you and your amazing family. XO

  3. Write has had quite a journey through your year, but it would never allow you to abandon and give up. (Thank goodness! 🙂 ) I can’t believe you would ever be a non-writer. I love your final bullets, so true.

  4. I have been blessed many times by your quiet nudges, and I am a better person because of them.

  5. I, for one, am incredibly thankul you live write! Your “I hope you write” or “I’m glad you wrote this week” inspire me. Thank you, my dear friend. You are right (write) where you need to be! 🙂

  6. I love every raw-honest word here. I could see writing tugging hard on your sleeve like child whose mom is on the phone (“Mom! Mom! Mom!”). I for one am celebrating SOS having been thrown out there – a safe little landing place in the midst of a turbulent world, one which may well be a saving grace to many, not to mention a joy. I may have to quote your three closing reminders a million times. For the record: Enticing Writers is one of my all-time favorite books on writing and I shared it often when I facilitated teacher development in writing. Happy New Year, Ruth. <3

  7. I love Fran’s comparison of your word tugging like a child whose mom is on the phone. When I first saw your word choice this year I thought it was a self serving one; however, you have really grown your wings with the realization that encouraging others is most important to you. A lesson I get over and over; it is on giving that we receive. You give and give. We are blessed to know you by your writing.

  8. We’re so glad that write claimed you for 2020! We are the ones so blessed by you. Thanks for your encouragement to share our stories and show up.

  9. I am glad that “write” kept tugging you. I am glad you lift others up. I am glad you are in my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Happy New Year!

  10. You have been my “write” inspiration for a long time now. I love the way you craft a line–whether in a “Ruth nudge” text or a post about your life. You continually make me feel. Thanks for always being “write”.

  11. Writing and reading continue to be my lifesavers. I can always go to writing and reading when things get hard. It’s that little goodness that lifts my spirit. You changed my way of teaching, Ruth, and you continue to remind me of those little treasures in life. Can’t imagine you not writing, and breaks are allowed!

  12. I am so very, very glad thankful for you and your writing, in all its forms. You consistently inspire and lift us up, and I know that my 2020 would have been a more dreary place without you and the way you use this word. Thank you for being the writer you are!

  13. So glad you shared, nudged, wrote… and continue to do all. You and your words are a gift. Today I love most the words … it’s ok for a weary heart to seek magic. … yes, a thousand times, yes.
    Thank you.