Good morning. So much on my mind.
While I write for others all week, developing a style and voice that is suitable to their business, product and service, I am finding that writing for myself does not flow so easily. I am looking for my voice.
It has been nearly 5 years since I discovered blogging. Writing helped me make sense of my circumstances at a time of difficult transitions: first a layoff and then the passing of my husband exactly a year later. But I am not that person in transition anymore… no, I take that back. I am in transition right now. It is impossible to be still.
I have been reflecting on this lately as it becomes apparent that I have not yet found my voice. Why is it so much easier to write for others? I had no trouble concocting long articles for Granny’s Parlour, the blog I wrote for about three years for a canning and gardening supplies business. Topics, words and inspiration just flowed.
As I write this, I remember the community of bloggers I met through Granny, some of whom have kindly followed me here to my personal blog. This, I think, was the greatest source of inspiration, to read their stories. It was an infusion of passion every time, and still is today. It is just that I am not as eager to give shape to words these days. Something has shifted.
Interestingly, the shift occurred as I began to pay closer attention to where I was taking my own thoughts and words. Over the past three years, I have tried to get involved in my community a bit more. For example, I’ve attended town meetings as a means to understand the dynamics at play here and in an attempt to meet those who have grown here. We also have an online Forum called Front Porch Forum. This is a great and successful initiative; one that is new and experiencing normal growing pains.
This Forum has made me aware of my own focus and words. It is inevitable to read some finger-pointing remarks on occasion, as well as rants and offensive verbal attacks (intentional or not) from one neighbor to another. Political views cause flare-ups of passion. All opinions form a greater picture of passions, beliefs and struggles to live in peace in the midst of diversity. There is progress here, always, and it takes time. We are constantly taming each other.
This brings me to silence. I have put in my two cents on occasion, spending hours formulating my text, thinking that if I spoke my mind just so I could be clear without offending; that I could propose a new perspective without rejecting others’ views. Every time. Every single time, this effort to put into words what I feel to be true has been totally draining and less than satisfying. And I doubt it is constructive.
So I ask one question, again and again; many questions in fact, one leading to the next: Do I need to have an opinion about everything? What would happen if I chose to stop the rants in my mind? What precious time becoming something or someone do I waste while I am a hostage to my thinking?
I bought a dulcimer last Christmas. It still sits in the same spot against the wall, untouched. I could be a proficient player by now, if only I had turned every hour spent formulating arguments in my mind against others’ perspective and actions into time practicing.
Here is my conclusion: I do not so much need to find my voice, as I need to change it. If my voice finds fuel in others’ actions, then I am withholding precious words from my own narrative… What of developing the skills I so enjoy practicing and focusing my words on that story?
I want this blog to be creative. To my great surprise, I am not taking it to that level naturally. I can do it for others, but not for myself. Why? Because I need to ask a new question: Not, “What is my opinion about this or that?” but rather, “What can I share?”
There is a saying that invites us to speak when we can leave people feeling better than when the conversation started, but to hold our tongue if our words would simply add fuel to an all-consuming flame instead. I can share something that nurtures a heartwarming fire, or something that ignites a destructive flame.
I cannot help but think about Cecilia, at The Kitchen’s Garden. Her blog explores the daily life she shares with her family of farm animals. It is the journal of her journey as herself. Every time I read her blog, I am reminded of how much good one person can bring in the world simply by being themselves, by caring for what is at hand and by growing into their own rhythm.
I must make time for the dulcimer, and for practicing the simple art of allowing what is at hand to unfold.
Thank you, Miss C.