Matisse and Me: Why I Write

Matisse Cut-Outs: Blue Nude

Matisse Cut-Outs: Blue Nude

           The list of writing projects varies by day: musings from my daily bicycle rides, runs and walks; current events that interest me and for which I may have some ideas, suggestions, or frustrations; philanthropic activities, especially seeking out and vetting organizations who not only “do good,” but also “do well” with thoughtfulness, grace, and compassion; wondering how to engage with my time, intellectually, actively, and communally; wondering if my avocation of writing, especially book-length material, is for naught, given the tough world of publishing and self-publishing; seeking thoughts and perspectives on play, a critical component to our creativity and intellectual engagement, as well as the freedom, without restraint, to explore the world around us and to wonder, sometimes with awe, of the natural world, the created world, and the daily world. The topics are endless, my ability limited.

            Where do I take my interests? Where do I lend my expertise now that I’m no longer engaged in “gainful employment”, aka, paid career? Where do I allocate my time? Writing is a first love, from my initial letters to my family when I was a second-grader at sleep-away camp, to an fourth grader’s angst-filled poems, to documenting science experiments, to writing journals and diaries of my days, whether when traveling, as a single parent, or when the kids were asleep at night, to organize my thoughts and my weeks ahead.

            I am in the midst of the second month post-launch of self-publishing a short memoir. The book was in process for many years, not in its published format but as notes, short essays, half-worked pages, a mish-mash of what I wanted to say about a period in my life that helped craft who I am today. It is not a “tell-all” or a “woe-is-me, I’m a victim” story or the most important events in my life. But still, it was a story I wanted to write, partly to celebrate friends, to put away, finally, some open issues, to describe with words the beauty of a place and people that is part of my fabric. I am disappointed with the sale numbers but buoyed by the reception of the book’s intent, the meaning of friends, the ability to find one’s way out of disappointment and hurt. My readers are kind, mostly friends from different eras of my life; still, wider reception would be wonderful!

            This writing world is a puzzle: the effort to tell a story well, to have that story recognized and believed, maybe even complimented, is more difficult than one would think. I haven’t found the answer, yet. I am not a natural storyteller or fantasy creator; my genre is writing what I know, so it naturally is about my life and the events I’ve experienced. Maybe these pieces will remain without an audience. That should be enough, words to paper, but still, the absolute thrill when I read the reports and see another book sold or receive a note from a reader that my memoir moved them, helped them understand their own situations, or made them see a part of the country with which they are familiar, well, that is indescribable joy. And, I suppose, why I continue to hone this craft of words to print.