Mom's homemade chili is simmering languidly on the stove downstairs. Scents of cinnamon, garlic, and cumin drift up through the rough wood planks of the railing separating the loft from the downstairs living room and kitchen of the cabin. Drew is working on updating our joint calendar on his computer, and Dad is halfway through a Bobby Orr biography as I type away and watch out the window. There are men ice fishing on the frozen lake, even now that the light is fading and the bright grey sky is slipping into itself, the smoky branches of raw trees militantly standing watch on the shore. I covet time to write like this. I wish I could sit and describe landscapes and skies and people to you for hours. There is nothing more restful to my soul than lying back and unraveling the words coiled and stacked inside my head. Sometimes when I drive, I think about how to describe streets or buildings or how I would describe the way a man is walking on the sidewalk. I carefully fold, pleat, and collect these thoughts and quietly put them away for another day, when there's more time.
Drew just came to spy over my shoulder, and when I told him I was writing about writing, he goes: "You're so meta."
I wanted to write about writing because it's what's been on my heart the last couple of months. The reason I write is to bring beauty and depth into the world and to let people know that they're not alone. We are human: brilliant and thundering souls with capacity to affect other souls, create things, discover why we are on earth, and make life more than a 6am coffee, angry commute, desk chair backache, and after-work drink.
It's easy for me to believe that writing is just a hobby--that I could just as easily play chess in a park or darn socks or climb trees. What's not easy for me to believe is that I am supposed to write for a reason. That someone intentionally gave me the ability to string words into sentences and put them somewhere so that the world can see and digest my paragraphs. I am undisciplined, easily annoyed, wholly a sinner, full of warring emotion, and daily unsure about why there is a struggling.
But I can tell you about it. I can write to make sense of life, and I can try and be courageous and process what I think and feel for others to see, so that, maybe, God will strain it all so it falls on your ears in a way most specific to you. Sometimes, I feel scared to write what's inside of me because, maybe then, I will be the one who is alone, and someone will think I'm ridiculous or strange. But I think that is the risk. It's becoming more and more worth it to me to reach across the digital world to hold your hand and know that we're in it together.
The sky has darkened now, and instead of seeing the lake, I can only see the warm smudges of lamps reflected in the window. The fire moves silently behind the grate, and Dad steps over to turn down the thermostat as we take off our socks because of the heat. The dog is small enough that she's merely an indentation in the fleece blanket, and she suddenly jumps down to investigate the carpet, and then, delicately, the corner of the rock hearth.
Water runs from the sink, and bowls clank against each other as the table is set and cups are filled.
It's time for dinner.