I was tagged by Icy Sedgwick in her meme and while it has taken me a few days to get to it, I absolutely do not want to be the one who breaks this chain letter… so here’s my post about what writing means to me.
Writing is my time capsule. Or maybe it’s a scrapbook. Whatever stamp I may put on it, writing is a history.
I have written for as long as I can remember. Poetry, short stories, plays, novels, limericks… whatever it was, it contained a part of me. Much like someone might build a scrapbook of important events for themselves or their child, my compiled pile of writing is a memory book of thoughts, ideas, emotions and dreams.
While I lost quite a bit of the writing I did in my early years thanks to yellowed paper, faded pencil marks and water damage, I still have most of what I wrote from my middle school years and beyond. Whenever I go back and read any of it, no matter how good or bad the writing itself was, I remember where I was, what I was doing and what I was feeling at the time. I remember who inspired each piece, as well, so I am reminded of friends or family or unrequited teenage love. I can see patterns in the writing that show me periods of deep depression, periods of extreme happiness and periods where I was (or was not) at ease with myself and who I was.
Even though the majority of my writing is fiction, there is a lot of truth to be learned from it. When I wrote things as a teenager, I couldn’t see it then. Nor can I see it in the writing I do today. But the passage of time allows me to look back and see what was really going on inside my head and, sometimes, remind me of how I dealt with situations that have come up again. While it would be easy to say “wow, Rob, you deal with everything by hiding on a different planet, with different rules which make your problems go away”, it isn’t really the case. Escaping to a different time or place is certainly a part of the reason I write, but I could tell stories that are set on a sandy beach just as easily as I tell stories set in alien landscapes. While the settings, the aliens and the abundance of free coffee are included to entertain people who might read my writing, the emotions and plot elements are straight from my life, usually something I’m trying to work through without yelling at too many people. Putting them on the page allows me to review them and analyze them later to see how I did.
What is the writing I’m doing today reflecting about me and my life today? I don’t know. But in five or ten years, when I re-open this time capsule, I should have some interesting things to sort out.