After the crazy social interaction of last summer, I welcome the Fall with its changing colours and cool evenings when one can curl up on a sofa and read.
I picked up several books on my recent trip to New York at my favorite bookstore, the McNally. I got a book by Elena Ferrante, and when I went to a cousin's house for dinner, she gave me another Ferrante book that she got from the stack of books that neighbors leave in the laundry after they have finished reading them. I was so delighted that I spent days reading, not even watching a single show on television which used to be my practice in the evenings.
No, for a week, I spent time reading. One morning amid a story, I felt strongly my desire to write coming back that I immediately went to my computer and wrote an article that I plan to publish on a platform I regularly use. Such love for writing lingered that I spent a portion of my days following that experience to writing whatever comes to mind.
Somehow, the writing flowed. I have embraced the identity of being a writer. I haven't done this before, even if I have written so many articles for some years now. I felt I was not good enough even to call myself a writer.
A story from the past came to me, and another one made me think I was not good enough to be a writer. My eldest sister, who is only a year older, is an excellent writer. Teachers praised her writing and asked her to be editor in chief, whereas I was only offered the features editor position in our school paper. My sister refused the offer to become editor in chief as she didn't want to spend time writing. She was busy learning new songs and dances. She only wrote when I offered to do her homework in exchange for an article, and it used to make me angry to see her do the writing in twenty minutes while I slaved over her homework for hours.
The other story was when we had an essay competition on a topic I had long ago forgotten. When the judges delivered the results, I placed only second to another classmate. That was the nail that clinched for me my belief that I was not a very good writer. Since then, I never bothered to write except for homework and exams until my husband and I decided to work as consultants in other countries. I chose only to accept contracts that I could do wherever we were so we could spend time together. I found myself with so much time in my hands, so I decided to write online. Slowly, I wrote articles but always asked my husband to go over them to assure me it was worth publishing. I needed someone to affirm it was good enough. This review went on for years until he passed on, and I lost that word of authority.
I, then, got a mentor, but I had no one to discuss ideas with, that somehow I lost interest in writing. I gave away one of my blogs to someone keen to take it over, and I was happy with the transition. I thought of giving up writing and being comfortable with retirement, not doing anything, just enjoying life.
Months of this did not bring me the enjoyment I thought I would gain from the decision. It made me even more restless, feeling useless about not doing something substantial. I kept assuring myself I was retired now, so I should be content in enjoying life.
Life, however, was not as enjoyable as I wanted it to be, so I kept searching. What was it that would make me happy? Little did I know that the flow came back in the simple recognition of being a writer, and I enjoyed sitting down to write. The fear of not being good enough was gone what was left was the enjoyment of giving words to memories, events, observations, and experiences. It was weaving a story about people and life as it happens.
I now look forward to waking up, having my coffee, and sitting to write. Sometimes, in the middle of reading, the urge to write intervenes, and I sit in front of my computer. It's very liberating to be free of that limiting belief that I was not a good writer. It doesn't matter now whether I am good or not. I write and keep doing it, enjoying the process.
For those who love travel, here are some of my top recommendations of places to visit.
Click on the picture to know more of these places: