Monday, December 5, 2011

Did Someone Say Writing is Relaxing? by Marcia Dutton

It’s been another one of those nights when I awakened after only four hours sleep as countless thoughts began flitting around like moonbeams.  If I could only harness them into a web and gather them into one thought, possibly I would go back to sleep.  The easy solution would be to read until I get sleepy, but I would rather write, ridding myself of thoughts in that manner.

My step-grandson Jonathon visited us when he was the age of six. I was impressed with how much knowledge this kid had. Sometime later, when his mouth was running at top speed, an elder said “Johnathan, hush for awhile, you talk too much.”

 “But” he replied, “I am a smart boy and I have a lot to say.” Well, I have a lot to say also. Not that I am all that smart, but because, at an advanced age, I have traveled, seen a lot and experienced much.

 Mankind has always wanted to communicate with others what they desire to say, whether it be with smoke signals, drums, morse code or by word of mouth.  I am not good at verbally expressing myself, often not able to find the right word, substituting the wrong one, badly pronounced as well, and jerkily wandering off into tangents.  I find it easier to collect my thoughts in writing.  Thinking at a slower pace and using a dictionary or Google suits me much better. 

When asked recently by another woman,” what do you do with your time?” I replied “I write and sometimes paint.”  “Oh” she said, “You must find writing relaxing.”

Relaxing my foot!  Writing is hard work, especially when you have just recently been introduced to it. Trying to get the grammar, punctuation and spelling right is of the first order.  There is the research of that and the information one wishes to impart.  Organizing the prose, trying to make it flow, have rhythm, getting a first paragraph of strong impact and a satisfying ending to match, is only a small portion of of the writing skills I am trying to learn and execute. I presume this will always be a challenge. Good for the mind though.

Physically, there is the arthritis in one’s back and the requirement to keep the legs elevated which make sitting at the computer painful at times.  The eyesight starts to get blury too, but the passion to get it  on paper forces one to continue regardless.  If the outcome is what I wanted to share after many revisions, then it is all worth it.  Hopefully someone, somewhere, will read what I wrote and find it informative, enjoyable or at least worthwhile.  And I will have communicated. With this off my chest, I’m going back to bed.

Award-winning artist Marcia Dutton has published letters to the editor in the American Press and the only English newspaper in Saudi Arabia. She was a newsletter editor in Saudi Arabia and sent numerous letters home to family members about life in the various countries she lived in. Marcia is writing a book of memoirs about her days in the U.S. Navy and her many adventures abroad.