“Every time an old man dies, a library burns down” – African proverb.
This proverb has been on my mind for quite a while now that I find myself inhabiting the world of a 90 year old woman who is daily losing ground to age related dementia. While we do our best to ensure she is fed, shuttled around, and her house is kept in order, I am sadly aware that the library is a total loss.
And as a writer, the destruction of any treasury of knowledge is particularly disturbing. I will forever wonder if I could have done more in the name of preservation. And I will have to come to terms with the simple fact that the time we are given on this side of the veil is finite. While I never struck a match, or intentionally damaged any of the books, I know that I allowed my busy life to fan the flames. Ten years ago my mother in law shared several family pictures with me and was able to identify names and places and events. Ten weeks ago I showed her a few pictures I found in the basement. She recognized nothing. She struggles with the living still around her, let alone having any ability to recall the deceased.
So what’s my point? Bear with me, if you haven’t guessed it.
The season of excess is eminent. As the year winds down, no doubt many of you will be overfed, overcommitted, overextended and by January 2019, over it. More often than not, we writers are an introverted, introspective bunch and while we love you, we are self focused because writing is a singular activity. And with activity in hyper drive this time of year, our holly just isn’t very jolly. As for this writer, not only do I inhabit the home of my 90 year old mother in law, my two grown sons live here, one married with a wife attending college and oh, they have a two year old. I commute to work, and oh joy. Christmas is our busiest season. Potential Saturdays and loads of people nomming free popcorn and slushies. Oh the unfathomable horror. I admit to a bit of limited empathy for the plight of others who lament their lack of writing time. But I digress.
So that limited empathy comment? It may seem like what I am suggesting for you the writer over the next few installments of this blog is a bunch of toughen up buttercup moments, but trust me. It’s not about guilting you, the overcommitted. It’s about preserving the treasury as only you the gifted writer can do. It is my hope over the next few blogs is that you will see yourself and your gift in a whole new light. Be encouraged. You’ll receive so much more than you will give.
So I’ll start by giving you the points of interest for the next few weeks and I hope you will give yourself the gift of a few minutes read time. Consider these things my gifts to you.
The Library. While it is true that dementia has ravaged the genealogical data in my mother-in-law’s mind, books can still be written. Volumes added. History pieced together and shared in a unique voice because as writers we have that gift of storytelling. I’ll share some ideas with you on how you can give the gift of family history to your family and to yourself. Any time spent in writing is always an investment in you.
The love letter. As writers, our words convey who we are, what we believe, our deepest inner selves and we can give ourselves to those we love in beautiful, meaningful ways.
The Blog. Not just your own personal blog but the blogs of others. There are opportunities out there to do a bit of expert writing on your passion that will help out myriad others.
The live journal. I’m saving this one for last simply because it is my favorite and I believe if you don’t do it already it will be an indulgence you will enjoy.