The power of words never ceases to amaze me.
They hold the power to connect us and to create rifts.
The written word can take us out of reality for a short while.
The spoken word can bring us more fully into the present.
Writing, for me, is thinking. It’s how I process the world around me. My thoughts don’t congeal, don’t have form, until they find paper.
I haven’t been able to write much in the way of fiction since my daughter, Cassie, had a cardiac arrest in early May. I started to get back to it in the early weeks following her long hospital stay — only to get derailed again when we got her devastating diagnosis.
Still, I write. Sometimes it’s in a journal. Sometimes I freewrite in Notion. Sometimes I piece together thoughts in whatever notetaking app I have open, gathering scraps of ideas in what I think may become an essay someday.
These things don’t feel effortful to me. The effort is NOT writing. To live inside my head and have no place to send those thoughts — the thoughts build up until the noise is untenable.
I’m not drawn to the page only in the noise, though. When things get overly quiet inside my head — when the overwhelm of what I’m going through shuts me down — the page is my tether to the world. I find my words here and I find my self here.
Before the recent trauma in our family, my husband took up inking. He’s been a comic collector his whole life, and began collecting original comic art about 10 years ago. In the process of creating a comic book, the art is broken down into three stages: drawing, inking and coloring. Each requires a unique skillset and is an art form of its own. Jeremy has been learning and practicing the inking, in both physical and digital formats.
In the middle of chaos — our kids running around shrieking like little animals, a hospital room with doctors and nurses constantly in and out — I find him hunched over his iPad, inking another artist’s incredibly complex drawing. With the work of his hand, the flat drawing becomes three-dimensional and vivid. It’s a beautiful thing to watch … but not just because the art itself is beautiful.
Inking, for him, is like writing for me. It gives him space to be, to think or not think, to find a calm place in the world.
I’m so, so grateful he found this outlet.
Not everyone is going to find solace in writing or art. But I wonder if we’d all be healthier, happier human beings if we each found our unique outlet and embraced it for what it is: an avenue to processing our thoughts and feelings and experiences outside our own brains.