Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I need to do what she has done

Lynn loves to get rid of things.  She has a pile of journals, some written during the last ten years or so.  When she has trouble sleeping, she reads through one to see if it is worth keeping.  Sometimes, she comes across writing that grips her.  This morning she read some passages of thoughts about our deceased daughter.  Lynn's language was right on target.

I often thought that our daughter could have handled her mental illness better with a different, more flexible personality.  I would not have thought of the word "arrogant" but Lynn's word hit the bull's-eye.  Our daughter did have intelligence and she did have imagination.  But like many positive qualities, they need the right setting and they need to be used properly.  If you are wrongly convinced that credit for much art and music should be coming to you in the form of royalties, if you are convinced that you are simply wonderful and should be recognized as such, intelligence and imagination can be put to trying to get the credit and money you think is owed you.  

Lynn saw our daughter's genuine beauty and talent clearly.  As she read her journal about our girl, she covered reminiscences of a loving, positive young woman who sank into madness in a sickening downward spiral that no one could stop.

But Lynn also read about her own high school experiences before we met.  She had a strong crush on her high school band/orchestra teacher, the man who got Lynn into playing the French horn.  She wrote about band uniforms they marched in: too warm in summer and too cold in winter.  We didn't meet until college so childhood and teenhood were times I had heard about over the years but were fun to hear about.  I already knew about the slew of guys interested in her but hearing this mature woman describe her early life is fun.

Several people have expressed the idea that nothing of interest takes place in their lives so there is nothing worth writing about.  I can understand the feeling but it is almost never based on the truth.  In truth, you can begin writing about the soup you had that was under-salted.  With some effort, that business of salt or not, healthy diets, the SALT diet which gets plenty of credit as a healthy one, leading to the use of other seasonings such as Mrs. Dash (now in several formats), onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, cumin, coriander and many other topics.  You could write about the time you went to pepper your dinner and the cap came off the pepper shaker.  Or, how you and many of your friends are increasingly unhappy with anything sweet or sugary even though that was once your favorite taste sensation.  It takes courage to begin writing about your mundane ordinary day and alertness to places where you can brighten the topic to something bigger and better.

So, that is what I need to do: write about childhood and teenhood times and memories.  I have memories of my baby sister first coming home from a hospital birth.  I remember when she tried to open a front porch gate and fell off the steps and broke her arm.  I had most of the childhood diseases during my year in kindergarten and missed much of the experience.  I wanted to dress up for a school afternoon and hung a pre-tied necktie above the neck of my t-shirt.  But Lynn has heard about those times more than once. 

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