Now, in my writing space, I am taken back to my early childhood. As my fingers connect with the keyboard, I am an 8-year-old girl, sitting in my father’s silver Volkswagen Beetle. We are on our weekly, Saturday car-ride to Rockland, Ontario to visit my beloved grandmother.
On this October, Indian summer day, it is quite warm. I am wearing shorts; my red Mary Jane shoes touch the back of father’s seat. My legs stick to the vinyl of the car seat. As I look across the Ottawa River, my head rests on my arm. I marvel at how the vibrant reds, yellows and oranges of the Autumn leaves, reflect in the blue waters of the river.
When our car passes the small church in Cumberland, on the left of Highway 17, my mind wanders to the father and son who drowned in the river years before. The church was erected in their memory. I close my eyes, picturing the church, and think of them. Like every time, each previous week when I passed this church, I now honour their memory. I consider the injustice of their demise, the brevity of life and the value of living in the moment.
In my writing space–journeying back in time, yet here at the keyboard–I realize that, since my earliest days, I have always been a deep thinker and empath.
That this is why I write.
Writing takes me into the memories of long ago–the people, places and events. Writing conjures up the hidden and the lost, unlocking them from the long-buried crevasses of time and distance. It brings the lost, back to life. It connects me with the faces, the places and the experiences that have impacted who I am today.
On a deeper level, writing forces me to stand in the mirror; to look closely and honestly at myself. It helps me understand the path that has led me to become the person I am today. In front of the mirror, I reflect upon who I am, where I have been, where I am headed. I see the interconnectedness of all the parts of my life, and the deep ways they determine the choices I make today.
It was the first rainy day in August, that lead to my writing life and the creation of this blog. After having earlier told a friend, that I would never write, I strangely just started. As William Faulkner writes, “If a story is in you, it has to come out.”
Since that time, I have learned that writing is both a personal and professional odyssey. A chance to travel into a place of self-discovery. On a personal level, I look inside the events of my life, in ways I have not looked at them before. On a professional level, I question the influences, the beliefs and the values I hold as an educator. I find, on my journey, that who I am as both a person and an educator is identical. That the values, and beliefs I hold as an educator, are deeply rooted in all facets of my life — past and present.
I can only write from the heart, on topics that touch me deeply. In my heart, the muses of Humanity, Justice and Compassion ask me to lend my voice. In my life, as in my writing, I have come to realize my desire to advocate for the vulnerable and to empower others.
Writing takes you into sometimes unknown and unfamiliar quarters. Sometimes finding the words is a tug-of-war; other times words seem to magically appear. Sometimes it is like shining a light into the darkness and suddenly capturing the image of the unexpected. Every time writing stretches me, enriches me and moves me forward
Perhaps my writing will encourage others to find their voice, reflect more deeply on their own journey or find their own way through this complicated, sometimes blinding, yet beautiful life. Maybe my words, my experiences and my reflections will inspire others.
This is my hope. It is why I write.
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