- I don’t understand algebra.
- I’ll never tell you my political opinions.
- I’m not really older than dirt.
Now, first, about the algebra: When my oldest brother was in high school, he earned A’s for calculating stuff. Then I came along and earned A’s for writing stuff. While he can write passably well, he probably won’t ever earn any change for it; when I see an algebra problem, my brain screams and hides behind the nearest door.
I’m glad I got the words and he got the gobbledygook, because words really do have power. I’ve yet to see anyone tweet an algebra problem. Then again, if people are out there tweeting algebra problems, I’m never going to follow them, so hmm … OK, I’ve yet to see anyone tweet a political algebra problem.
Which brings me to my second point: This is the blog where I record my thoughts about being a writer. In my real life, I write blogs for other people for small change and pen political posts when they strike me. That said, you will never, ever know which “side” I’m on because, like I said, this blog is about the writer, not about the writing.
Moving on to point three: While I’m not really older than dirt, in less than a year I will be the big five oh. When I was out running errands earlier today, I noticed the trees … rather than trying to impress you with my nonexistent poetic skills, let’s just call them fantastic. They’ve entered their head-craning-accident-causing phase this autumn.
Most of them here in dusty West Texas are just plain brown, which makes the reds/oranges/yellows just that much more spectacular. But the reds are the best. And it occurred to me that my writing, like me, has entered into its own autumn. When I was in my spring – in high school and as a young mother – my writing and I were all about the punch line. We were giddy, and we couldn’t have written anything else had we tried.
As spring turned into summer, we matured. When my mom passed on, we wrote such heartrending essays about her that we promised ourselves that – if we had any talent at stringing words together – that we’d stop using it to make people cry. So, in that summer season, we turned to concrete matters: we started using it to earn some spare change and we entered the political arena.
But, lately, we question our choices again. While we don’t make people cry anymore (I hope), there’s a lot of shouting in the arena and, although we’re not major players, we’re certainly doing our share of whispering from the sidelines. While the leaves change colors outside, our own hair grays within, and I suspect we’re accidentally maturing again – but I don’t want to be a plain brown gasp from the sidelines. I want to be a warm, earthy, joyously red writer. And I wonder … couldn’t our words be better spent serving others somehow? Or, at least making them smile again?
Do aging algebrarians ignore deadlines for an afternoon while they ponder such questions? I’ll never know.
I is a writer.