Writing Through Life’s Messy Middle

This month, I started taking an online writing course through the HerStories Project, a writing community for Gen X women “in the messy middle of life.”

I have mixed feelings about this mid-life thing. At times, my brain is firmly stuck in the adolescent years. I’m intimidated by the sleek-ponytailed women in my yoga class, who remind me so much of the popular kids in high school. I’m still afraid of eyeliner, spiders, and business formal attire.

Yet I am “ma’am” at the grocery store, the car wash, and my children’s school. My grey hairs long ago became too numerous to pluck. It certainly appears I’m in a messy middle of sorts.

When I was telling my oldest daughter that I joined a writing class, she seemed puzzled.

“But Mom, you already know how to write. Why are you taking a class?” she asked.

“Because I want to get better at it,” I told her.

And getting better at anything means doing more of it. Sounds so simple, right? But I’ll admit that I’m not as disciplined about my writing schedule as I need to be. So I’m excited about this course and the accountability it will foster. There are even homework assignments to complete! One of the first tasks was to journal about why I write. Here’s what I came up with.

I write because I’ve been drawn to it ever since I was a young girl and filled journal after journal with expressions of childhood angst.

I write because I love the feeling of crafting a gorgeous essay and knowing it captured precisely the jumbled thoughts inside my head.

I write because I’m better at it than I am at a lot of other things. And I write because, like I told my daughter, I want to get better at it and I still have a lot to learn.

I write because it’s comfortable and familiar. But I write also because it’s an uncomfortable, agonizing, and soul-searching process.

I write because I want to be part of a larger conversation, find my voice, and connect with others.

I write because ideas come to me and I want to get them out of my head and into a more tangible form.

I write because when I am gone, the words I sent out into the world will be proof that I existed, that I had thoughts, that I was a real person. I write because I can.

~ ~ ~