Sunday, October 20, 2013

Aging is a Process of Deceit

It seems another year of living has slipped by, the only remarkable thing about that being that I don’t seem to mind it. I still look on birthdays as marking growth both personal and public. I’m at an age where I can look back a long way and still, with some clarity, see the path I have taken and yet have sufficient vision to look to the future. I’m fond of saying that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

That isn’t wholly true, of course. I do know that I am probably as grown up as I’ll ever be, and that there is far less ahead than there is behind. Still, I have stories to tell, to write, and perhaps to share with a wider audience. There is a conceit most writers share, I suspect, that there are readers out there who want to know what we have to say; who care enough to take the time to read what we write. That isn’t the only reason for writing, of course. It does explain, perhaps, why one would sit down for hours every day to draw from within a sequence of words that tell a story to share with others. I keep thinking that maybe one day, in a year or two, I will close the door on the writing room, give myself up to reading, to playing, to just "being." But I know that won’t happen.

Writing is such an organic part of who and what a writer is. I could no more stop writing or thinking "story" than I could stop dreaming, or eating, or breathing. There is a part of me that looks at every act and action as a potential story. Sometimes it is simply how to relate an event to one other person, what words to use, how to structure the telling so that it is more than just a linear recounting. It is a writer’s burden, if you will, to care about structure, about entertaining, about capturing the reader or listener regardless of the information or size of the audience. I prefer to put words on paper, to read and edit before the words go out into the world, for an audience of one or of many. I often find that what I originally thought I had to say isn’t what I end up saying at all. It happens with a simple dialogue with one person, and it happens when I sit down to write a story. I always start out with a direction, an end point in mind, but like many things we all do, the direction, the conclusion, ends up being quite different.

There is an old proverb that says if we don’t change direction soon, we’ll end up where we’re headed. I think I’m at the point where I know where I’m headed, and it’s too late to change direction.

Still, I’m not ready to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

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