one of my writing heroes, Gloria
A great thing it is to be a writer. An even greater thing to be a writer who never made it to the big Leagues, and so has an undefinable ‘audience’ if she has an audience at all. (Is it the mom of this brace of babies in the twin stroller here? That late-night web surfer looking for news about Jeremy Bentham? The people who clicks through from my column in any given paper to see the blog post I wrote that day because that paper is nice enough to provide the link to it?)
Last week on this blog I had a piece about April Fools Day bookending things on the Monday and a picture of my mother in her casket bookending things on the Friday. Yesterday I posted Ten Tips for Using a Public Restroom and later this week I will post a piece, tearfully composed on the anniversary of his death, about my husband’s elderly uncle who became my own best friend. What I’m saying is I realize the tone changes a good bit from day to day and I hope that’s OK with people.
On the Writer’s Almanac last week I heard Garrison Keillor quote something Gloria Steinem said that I identify with entirely. She said, “Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”
I feel just that way about writing and also, I’ll admit, about any time at all that I have with young children and any time I spend reading things either by or about 19th century American writers. (Does anyone KNOW anymore how amazing Walt Whitman was? Walt Whitman who said “Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches; give alms to everyone that asks; stand up for the stupid and the crazy, argue not concerning God; have patience and indulgence toward the people; go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and the mothers of families….”)
I just tell what I saw, heard, felt. I may sometimes amuse people and sometime anger people. Sometimes I may make them feel more than they wanted to feel and maybe sometimes I just make them yawn.
But every time I write I too feel, like Gloria, and probably like the great Walt Whitman, that there is nothing in this world else I would rather be doing.