Near the beginning of 2021, I began a series of articles under the theme of “Brief Bursts.” My goal was to be less wordy—to say things as briefly and directly as possible—and therefore post more frequently. Unfortunately, as you can see from the shortlist of articles under this sub-heading AND the length of several, I did not accomplish either goal.
In the previous twelve months, many of my posts have appeared under comments to the first article, “Deep Listening.” There, I’ve engaged in an enlightening conversation with my conservative friend Ryan about a wide range of topics, including politics, leadership, and, recently, attitudes toward vaccinations and COVID. I encourage you to read these comments if your interest is piqued by an exchange between a bleeding-heart Democrat (me) and a conservative Republican (Ryan.) It is not a coincidence that this conversation appears in a blog about respect.
Where With All Due Respect is headed in 2022 is still a mystery. I’m currently preoccupied with writing my first novel and find myself wanting to dedicate most of my creative and wordsmithing time and energy to that. Approaching the sixth anniversary of my retirement, I see the rhythms of my daily life coalescing more and more around the act of writing—my way of being in the world, my orientation toward life. Whenever I put pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard—journaling in the early morning hours, email during the day, scant hours writing fiction, essays, and the occasional poem, or short phrases jotted in my “brain-dump” notebook just before sleep—choosing the precise word is a passion bordering on obsession.
Yesterday, the best-selling writer Joan Didion died at the age of eighty-seven. An NPR report (Joan Didion has died at 87: NPR) declared that
Didion spoke about the act of writing more astutely than pretty much anybody else. “I write entirely to find out what is on my mind, what I’m thinking,” she said.
“The writing itself was a path to understanding and clarification. Her definition of a writer was ‘a person whose most absorbed and passionate hours are spent arranging words on pieces of paper.’ She said that in a 1976 speech at her alma mater, the University of California, Berkeley.”
For me, those passionate hours are spent arranging and re-arranging words on a computer screen. And a total of 39 journals over 50 years betrays my compulsion for writing as inner exploration.
Thank you to those who read With All Due Respect and offer your comments and encouragement. Thank you to fellow bloggers who inspire me, including three with different styles and perspectives: Carolyn, Rick, and Joan. I’m grateful to my two writers’ groups: the spiritual writers (Al, Ann, Carol, Hugh, Nancy, Paige, Rick, and Sarah) and the group from my retirement community (Deanna, Fayal, Marcia, Mark, Nan, Phyllis, and Terry). They have patiently read and critiqued my monthly submissions for over three years, and I’ve become a better writer with their kind guidance. Finally, though it may seem odd, I want to put in a plug for Grammarly, the editing app that I use daily for everything from email to chapters in my book. It’s improved my grammar tremendously and saved me from some dreadful faux pas.
Writing is what I most love to do. Paradoxically, the tragic circumstances of the pandemic have provided more opportunity to do it than my busy nature would have eked out on its own. So, whatever becomes of With All Due Respect in 2021, I will enjoy every minute of it.