Why Do This?

After a few months off, I've come back here and it feels good. That should be enough, right? But of course I discount that feeling and overthink and worry that I should build a bigger audience, find ways to make this blog more important (whatever that means), and find some larger meaning. I've been writing regularly since 1987. I was going to say writing seriously, but that sounds like I've made a career and also sets off alarms about building something else instead of accepting what I'm already doing.

Whatever my worries, every so often someone reminds me why I do this, what effect I'm having. Last night it was a friend from college who had been catching up on my postings. He was reading "Learning Is Messy", a piece I wrote in July after leaving teaching but still being very much in a teacher's mindset. I was also stuck installing a damn doorbell. My friend thought it one of my funnier and more publishable pieces.

It felt good to hear the compliments — I'm a sucker for such things — but here's the thing that's really good: I got a clear reminder that writing connects me with people I love and need. It helps me meet new people. It reconnects me with those I would otherwise lose. Just last week, an old friend subscribed to the newsletter and though we didn't talk, it was like seeing her smile from across the room, across years. Lovely stuff, that.

The reason to do this — and by this I mean anything worth doing — is that it's good and leads to good things. That should be obvious, but I need to be reminded every so often. If you do too, then that's something mre reason to do this. I might as well write on.

A Visit & Morning Pages

My friend is here. I picked him up at the airport yesterday. We stayed up last night talking until almost two which made getting up at six a challenge but well worth it to spend time with a friend I haven't seen in a year and a half. The lack of sleep is nothing. I want to soak up every moment.

Last night, just the two of us in the living room, he said, "I love your house. It's so cozy." He's not the first to say so and each time I take it two ways. One, we make a comfortable home. Two, it's a simple kind of place. I don't mean that we have a shabby house, but no one will mistake it for fancy. It has no pretensions and feels simply like home. That's how it felt to my friend and how it feels to me.

Some of this is the effect of the furniture and decorations, but it's more that my daughters chose to sit out in the living room with their mother and me and my old college roommate. They talked and listened, joked and told stories. The comfort of this home comes from the four of us and it's palpable. Even after my wife and the girls had gone up to bed, there was the feeling of comfort and ease that comes only with a long-term friendship and a place in which two old friends can sink back into things as though no time at all has passed. No wonder we stayed up almost to two.

Four hours of sleep and off my schedule I got up, emptied the dishwasher, got laundry out of the dryer for my older daughter to have the right clothes for school, opened the blinds, turned off the furnace, and sat down to write three Morning Pages. There's a comfort there as well, though I wanted to go back to sleep or make a cup of coffee. The comfort is in doing what I do, what I have done. I sat down, uncapped the pen, and figured myself out with blue ink over three pages. I think about the blog post for the day, an idea I mapped out a couple days ago, and a note I want to write to a friend.

Less than half a page in, I'm in the groove. I have momentum and energy like rolling downhill into the sunrise.

The writing sets the table for the meal of my morning, afternoon, and evening. It creates a mood, a way of being. The results of this aren't anything I can measure or set down in exact figures try as I might. It is instead a feeling, one about which I'm as sure as of anything. The pages open me for the day, put me in a space and mode. From there the day flows.

There are things about Morning Pages which go beyond the boundaries of the written word, the ineffable effects that, like friendship, comfort, warmth, and love, must be felt perhaps without any logical understanding. Why do I do Morning Pages? Why should you? I can only begin to tell you. The rest you need to feel.

My friend said, "we have to find ways to see each other more than once a year." Why do we need to see each other? Who bother when we live so far apart? To push this defies logic. Of course it does. There is no logic in friendship, in love, in the simple need to fill three pages by hand this morning after staying up until two with my friend and then waking at six with the family. It all defies logic and works at some other level.

I'm willing to call that level what it is: magic.