Sunday, April 15, 2012
Day 15 Health Awareness Prompt: Writing with Style
― Ernest Hemingway
Well, for centuries writers bled onto paper, then into notebooks, and eventually onto a typewriter's keyboard. The question for today is how do I write?
I've written of this earlier, this awareness that writing with pen and notebook is different than composing on a keyboard; one is not faster than the other for me, though one is definitely more legible.
Years ago I had neat, precise handwriting that flowed beautifully across pages and pages in short time. My thoughts flowed as quickly with my hand; at some times, my brain and my hand would compete, one seemingly yielding to the other. My writing was more sentimental then ... more filled with emotions, happiness, sadness, and yes, anger and resentment.
My writing today is done on a laptop; it is a bit more formal, a bit more reserved, perhaps less expressive and more peaceful in tone. Some of that may be as related to where I am in my life as well as in the change of method. I have less to stress about; I have fewer worries. I am satisfied with the completion of parts of my life, and can look more calmly at what may still be ahead, having weathered all that I've weathered so far.
I used to write about what was still ahead with apprehension, with some fear, and with some prayer. My prayers are now more often of gratitude than of request. My success in life is no longer tied to the vagaries of my students' lives ... my own children are now adults and have experienced some successes, enough to feel confident in going ahead. My husband and I are almost out of the mortgaged years, and while we don't have extra money for retirement vacations, we have a home where we are both happy, I with my sewing machine, computer and greenhouse, and he with his workshop, tools, and customers. We both feel close enough to the finish line of life to realize that we will at least approach it together, and that if we cross it at separate times, the one left behind will be there with happy, contented memories.
Is catastrophic illness still ahead of us? Possibly. Will our children find a way to cope with and survive that part of the journey with us? Yes. Will they be in unison at the time? Perhaps, perhaps not. Will they be able to look at how our generation handled that, and choose to follow or digress from the modeled path? Certainly. Will they, too, be able to make the choices that will not leave them in regret later? Yes. Will they define regret or satisfaction in their own terms, in their own circumstances, in their own time? No doubt. Will it be the same as ours was? We will not know that ... but we trust that they will do what is right for them, and for us.
Would I have written that differently in a notebook? At the time I wrote in notebooks, yes, certainly, for all of those challenges were yet ahead of me, of us. It is not just the ability to write legibly that I have lost to the years and to the diagnosis of ... whatever it is I have ... Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson's Disease. I have lost so much more. I have lost the fear of not measuring up in terms and decisions of responsibility. I have lost the pressing schedule of teaching every day in a classroom of students who might be experiencing their own trials. I have lost the need to work through pain, fatigue, and worry.
I have gained a measure of peace, and believe in increased peace ahead. Past fears and worries will fade in memory, in time. Do I want them to be unseen and forgotten entirely - no, I want my children and grandchildren to know that it was not easy, it was not totally surpassed, it was approached with fear, but also with love, and it was, in its own time, finished. And their challenges yet ahead will be, too. And so I write, or type, or enter ... for them, as much as for me.