One Woman's View
A very important observance is coming soon. Nov. 15 is “I Love to Write Day.” Writing has always been a very enjoyable part of my life. Well, not always, I suppose. I didn’t learn to write until I was 6 years old, but after that it wasn’t long before I discovered the satisfaction that comes from putting ideas on paper.
During my school days I even enjoyed composition assignments. While the rest of the class was groaning, I was eagerly figuring out what I would write about. Fifty or 60 years later I still remember some of those themes I wrote. I may still have some lying around.
Ina Hurley, my teacher in sixth through eighth grades, gave my love of writing a welcome boost. She had her students get one of those red Big Chief tablets to write stories. The clincher was that we did not have to hand them in.
Nobody had to see our work unless we allowed it. That was extremely freeing for me, since I had not yet become enough of an exhibitionist to want the whole world to be treated to my deathless prose or poetry.
Another major encourager was my father. He was the postmaster and, in those days, the bundle of weekly newspapers came wrapped in blank newsprint. He laboriously cut it up in small sheets, strung cord through it, and gave it to me “to write stories in.” I don’t know whether he had done the same for my brothers or whether he sensed that writing would be a special delight for me.
Now you’re thinking, “OK, that lunatic columnist loves to write, but what does that have to do with me?” I think there are some good reasons why all people should try their hand at writing on some level.
First of all, there is a special pleasure in writing and receiving letters. Yes, we now have technology for telephone calls and e-mail, but they do not quite take the place of letters. I am willing to wager that even those who never write real letters still enjoy receiving one. How many of you have tucked away somewhere a little bundle of our spouse’s love letters from your courting days? I even have a few letters my grandparents wrote to each other before their marriage in 1885. You cannot do that with a phone call, and I doubt anyone does it with e-mails.
Second, keeping a journal can be therapeutic. I admit lately, I have been out of the habit of journaling, but I need to get back into it. Sometimes pouring out a grief or worry on paper can help you deal with it. However, when I was keeping a journal, I reserved it only for happy events. If you struggle with depression, it helps a lot to make yourself think of all the good things in your life. On the dreariest day, I could always find a bright spot for my journal — perhaps a beautiful sunset, a patch of wildflowers by the roadside, or a smile.
I think everyone who has children and/or grandchildren should write their life story for them, complete with stories handed down from previous generations.
My parents were both good storytellers who talked freely about their lives and old family legends. I found their accounts fascinating, but never realized the need for preserving them in a permanent record. I believe writing is the best way to do this, but if you find the task too daunting, I suppose an audio or video tape could work.
Sometimes you can exert a helpful influence by communication with your Congressman or state legislator or writing a letter to the editor. I have a friend who often writes to companies about their products. She has found that they pay attention to her input and correct problems. Sometimes they even send her freebies.
So, have a lot of fun on “I Love to Write Day.” I plan to celebrate the occasion by getting a few long over
Last modified Oct. 29, 2008