When I see a runner pummeling down the sidewalk in the September heat, I think to myself, what must it be like to have that– to have the self-knowledge that, whatever else you may or may not be, you are a runner.
I have to remind myself that I do have that self-knowledge: I am a writer. I may not know anything else about myself– what job I will have in two years (or two months!), what graduate school I will go to, what dreams I will accomplish and which will fall by the wayside. But I know that I am a writer.
It always gives me pause when someone or some website or some job application asks me what my hobbies are. I don’t really have a hobby. I don’t go to any club meetings (although someday I will make it to that Smith College Alumnae Book Club! Someday!). I don’t knit or garden or collect beer bottle caps. I don’t have a “thing.” But I do write. I have always written, for as long as I’ve known how. Writing has been my solace in the dark Northern winter, it’s been my key to college and to many jobs, as I write myself into the hearts of those who read me.
Writing is what’s making International Family Day come together. I’ve started a Don’t Break the Chain calendar for writing, and it comes as a surprise to me sometimes to realize that I haven’t done my minutes for the day, because I’ve just spent the last two hours doing nothing but write emails, crafting ever more concise and efficient and eloquent ways of explaining this little dream that’s coalescing inside the minds of dozens of people, now that I’ve written them.
So, even though I’m not writing loud and strong and rushing past you as you wait for the bus, writing is just as big a part of who I am. Which, I suppose I don’t have to tell you. You already know that it doesn’t have to be public to be true. I just had to write it down, to make it real for myself.