Saturday, September 15, 2007

Answering the birthday question

This year, I learned that chiropractic works. I learned how to knit with fishing line and beads. I learned a pomegranate tree will survive and break dormancy in my front storeroom. I learned how to take care of curly hair. I learned what an airbag looks like after it's gone off. I learned a good therapist is worth almost anything, and so is a good events coordinator. I learned what a failing transmission sounds like. I learned how to order books from publishers electronically. I learned what pwned means.

To my surprise this year, I learned I am a writer. I thought I was a reader, a teacher of writing, and an editor of other people's work, but writing itself was not something I claimed. Now, thanks to some of you, I do claim it.

I learned something I had been taught but had not understood: that writing is in its essence an art form of connection. My words on this screen are nothing but pixels until you read them. But once you do, the words I was hearing in my head, you are now hearing in yours. Few connections are more intimate.



And this year, I learned that the hits can keep coming. There's no upper limit to the number of things that can knock you over, and no lunch break guaranteed in your contract. I re-learned that in an instant a life can be gone with no bringing it back, and there's no limit to the number of bad things that can happen in a month, or six months, or a year. There's no limit to who is vulnerable in your life. If you love, you are vulnerable beyond the limits of your own body. If you even just connect, you are vulnerable.

Nevertheless, I learned connections are the only way to heal those kinds of injuries, so I am trying to figure out how to live, connected and vulnerable and open.

(Wish me luck, people. And help me out, okay?)

And you--did you take some time to think about it? This past year, what did you learn?

7 comments:

The Goldfish said...

This was a lovely post. Happy New Year, S. :-)

E. said...

I learned that life is fragile. I learned that friendships persist. I learned that I can write everyday. I learned that I can let go.

Jenny Davidson said...

Good post, good luck, & of course call on whatever resources I can offer you!

S. said...

Goldfish and Jenny, you have both helped me take my writing seriously. Thank you for that gift.

E., beautiful.

niobe said...

I don't think I'm ready yet to think about what I've learned. But you have learned an awful lot -- and most of it extremely valuable, in one way or another.

But does this mean that we should be wishing you happy birthday? Or is this, perhaps, a birthday-of-the-world list?

S. said...

Niobe, birthday-of-the-world. Mine isn't til Spring!

Julia said...

I, too, am not sure I am ready to say what it is I learned. Your list makes for a thoroughly heartbreaking year, but one that brought some healing too.