“I feel like I am allowed to share with the world what I see.”
– Joel Robison, photographer
A while back, I saw the above quote when I was reading an article about Joel Robison, a photographer whose career had taken off practically overnight because of his photos that were noticed and purchased by the Coca-Cola company. While I’m not a photographer, that quote spoken by Joel with regard to his new booming career struck a chord with me. I knew exactly what he meant. That’s how I feel about my writing – that beautiful feeling of seeing something and knowing that there is a story in it. And then having the freedom and means to share that story with others. I was excited to see someone put so simply into words exactly what I feel so often. So, I quickly copied and pasted the quote into a new blog entry and saved it to my drafts to write about later.
And there it sat.
And sat some more.
The quote was phenomenal and I knew I wanted to expand on it and blog about it, but I’ve just been kind of stuck. Not only stuck on knowing what to write about regarding this particular quote, but just stuck in general. I briefly mentioned my case of writer’s block in my last blog, but I sort of blamed it on how busy I’ve been lately. (Which, mind you, I’m not saying doesn’t play a big role in it.) But honestly, I don’t think that’s the only thing. Once in a while, I just can’t quite grab on to that muse, you know? I know she’s there. She’s always there. She sits there waiting patiently for me…whistling, twiddling her thumbs, trying not to be a nuisance. But yet, for some unknown reason, my hands just can’t get the grip I need on that slippery little booger. I try to reach for her, even think I’ve got a good hold every now and then, but lo and behold, she manages to slither right out of my hands. Oh, it’s not her fault. She hasn’t done anything wrong – hasn’t changed.
It’s me who can’t get a grip.
Well, a few weeks ago, I was honored to be a speaker at a local event called Night of the Spoken Word. Eleven local writers were introduced individually and asked to read a 5-minute portion of one of their works. While I was excited to participate, I was also looking forward to the inspiration that I knew the night would bring. For a writer stuck in a rut, there would be nothing better than to be surrounded by fellow writers – hearing their magical words flow through the room and feel them seep into my soul. I just knew this would be what would jumpstart my writing and get me back on track.
Well, guess what? It didn’t.
Oh, I was inspired of course. I was in awe and full of admiration at all the talent that surrounded me, and beyond honored to be included among them. But I got home and sat down at the computer and still…
Well, except maybe this one thing.
Something I had heard that night kept playing over and over in my mind. A fellow writer got up to read a poem he had written about a trip that he and his daughter had taken together when she was younger. As he gave the introduction to his poem – describing why he had written what he had – he said he had just had such a wonderful time with his daughter on the trip that when he got home, he sat down with pen and paper to write about it. Specifically, the phrase he used was this:
“I wanted to remember what that felt like.”
– Scot Pope
If it wouldn’t have been massively rude to whip out my cell phone during his reading, I would have done just that. I would have went to my “notes” app on my phone and typed in what he said to remind me to go back and read it again later. (Oh, how many blogs I have written based on short, practically unintelligible “notes” from my phone…). But, as luck would have it, I didn’t need to be rude and type it into my phone after all. I remembered it. I remembered it as I was leaving, I remembered it when I got home, and here I was remembering it almost two weeks later. I didn’t know why that meant so much to me, but it just wouldn’t leave my mind.
And then, suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, one day it hit me.
I hurried to my blog site and dug out that dusty old draft with the Joel Robison quote in it. Looking at his quote, and comparing it with Scot Pope’s quote, I realized why I write. And realizing it made me appreciate it. And appreciating it made me want to do it again. I hope these two remarkable, talented men won’t mind my combining their quotes by saying that writing, for me, is not only a way to remember what I felt when I saw something in this big, awesome world, but to also be able to tell people about it. I feel something, and I no longer have to hold it inside. I pour it out onto the computer screen, hit that little “publish” button, and suddenly, I’ve shared a piece of myself with you. I’ve invited you into my memories. Into my life lessons.
Into my heart.
Writing is who I am. It just is. When it’s missing, a piece of me is missing. And sometimes that does happen…sometimes I lose touch temporarily with who I am. (As I’m sure we all are prone to do.) But then, inevitably, Inspiration comes slipping in that door I left ajar yet again. And quietly, without any noise or fanfare to speak of, she plants her little seed once more- whether through the eloquent words of a fellow writer, the majestic beauty of a talented photographer, or the kind words from a blog reader who lets me know that my words meant something to them – and I once again find myself back on the path towards home.
In closing, and as a thank you to each and every one of you, my vast array of seed-planters, I’d like to once again quote Joel Robison:
“So with that, I’d like to thank YOU for being a part of this big and small world. For looking at, enjoying, commenting and appreciating my work and what I do and for helping me find the path that I’ve found.”
– Joel Robison
Thank you all for your part in helping me to reach out and grasp that elusive muse with both hands, and hold her tight to me where she belongs. Thank you for helping me to find my way back to where I belong. Thank you for helping me to remember who I am.
All is well.