Sitting next to me on the corner of my desk is a mountain of paper. Six hundred and fifty six pages to be exact. When I’m sitting in my chair, the stack is almost level with my shoulder. From the corner of my eye it feels like a large benevolent companion, patiently waiting for me to acknowledge it’s presence, offer it some hospitality, make it feel at home. Because it’s going to be with me for a while, this behemoth of paper. It has moved in to stay. It has come to be transformed from six hundred and fifty six sheets of paper into something wonderful and marvelous and all mine.
In the past few months I’ve sifted through archived writing that represents the past eight years of my life, events, experiences, thoughts, all chronicled on the digital pages of the three blogs I maintained during that time. These pages are the result of much searching and re-reading - they are what I plan to cull and craft into a small printed book of essays that are representative of this Life in General.
Many similar themes emerged and reappeared as I revisited the pages chronicling the past eight years - my love of home, my need for solitude, my tendency to overload my life and time until I become frustrated and angry. I recalled joyful moments when I announced my Grandson’s impending arrival and then his birth. Peaceful descriptions of summer days on the back porch, making my winter weary heart ache for such days to come again and soon. Painful stories of loss - so much loss in these eight years. And then two years ago the promise of our new house, of starting fresh.
Sometimes writing on the internet feels so disposable - we pour our hearts into blog postings and online magazine essays or stories, then push a button that disseminates them instantly across the universe where they become part of someone’s social network feed or blog reader for a few seconds before disappearing into the ether. Creating this book feels a little bit like making a quilt, gathering the pieces, stitching the pieces together, and putting a binding around it to hold all the edges in place. It will contain the way I’ve experienced life over the past eight years and preserve it for me - and maybe for you - to learn from in the years to come.
Writing on the internet has been good to me and good for me. I’ve met some amazing people who inspire me to keep at this writing thing. I’ve listened to and learned from their stories. I’ve learned to use writing to help make sense of life in general and my own in particular. But at heart I’m a tangible person, I want and need to hold something in my hand to prove I was here. Artifacts of daily living are important to me. It’s why I cherish my grandmother’s sugar spoon and stuffing bowl. It’s why I keep photographs and greeting cards.
Life in General will be such an artifact.
I’m excited to begin.