It’s the first day of summer, the longest day of the year. As light lengthens past nine at night, a writer feels braver. Summer offers a richer and truer expression of relaxation and reflection.
When we write, we’re in “summer school.” Writer William Zinsser said: “The subject you best know is yourself.” So, write about that. If you’re journaling, use the journal as a “classroom” to explore and learn more about yourself and others. Author and writing teacher, Susan Tiberghien, once said, “I try to live my day as a journey. When a flower opens in sunlight, when a cloud beckons, I write that in my journal.” In writing, self-absorption slips away. In her writing guide, Wild Mind, Natalie Goldberg notes that writing allows us to “let it go.”
Not only that, but I have always felt writing fosters empathy, not just for others, but for us. What’s the point of that? Empathy translates into better relationships, opens up a mutual give and take, and encourages different perspectives and a rhythm of hope and optimism that might not have been there before. When people ask why I started the Women’s Writing Circle, I always say it was borne out of this feeling that women’s voices have been marginalized. Writing may crystallize a plan, a path forward, a way out of a problem. We’re in this together.
At a recent writing workshop, we were asked to describe a room in our house. Does it foster creativity? How would you describe it? What would you change if you could? I wrote about my pink, gold and red living room. The colors and textures reflect my taste, as well as a commitment I made a long time ago to declutter the spaces where I live. Clutter fosters chaos, disorganization. There’s a couch, a loveseat, and a chair. There are books in one corner near a dark green rolltop desk. On the walls, hang the art from my travels. The art depicts the Wheel of Life, bought in Nepal, the Tree of Life, from Morocco, the winter sled and horse skimming across tundra, bought in Russia. For all that I have seen and traveled the world, I spend most of my days, here in this room, in this house, redolent with memories. A hint of laughter hangs on the breeze or is that the windchime next door? What would I change? The touch of a hand on mine, a kind word over another solitary dinner. What was a choice? What wasn’t a choice?
I write. I ponder. Summer’s journey for the writer waits.