Today, I wrote a post on Thoughtful Minds United, another blog that is on WordPress; I was invited to start writing for them and I selected the 22nd because my anniversary is August 22nd and if I can’t remember the 22nd, then something must be wrong with me.

Today, in my Thoughtful Minds United post, I wrote about the significance of the audience and the role it can play in my life as a writer.  I was inspired by a student today who randomly (or divinely inspired) called out in class today that he read my blog with two of his friends and that he was impressed by my ability to write.

I swear, I lifted off the ground for a moment and slid around the universe.

I love writing.  I love everything about writing.  Even getting rejected hasn’t been that bad.  Of course, it’s been a year since my last rejection and I was kind of expecting it…almost hoping for it (the agent and I wouldn’t have been a good match. Long story…nothing wrong with the agent).  For me, I love everything about writing whether it’s the spilling out of words onto a “page” (screen) to the act of editing to the frustration to the act of editing and not seeing things happen the way I want them to (do you know how many times I have editing my baby?  Lots…so many I have lost count) to the sudden rush of joy when I realize that maybe I have figured out this writing puzzle.

Give me more.  More words.  More punctuation.  More layers of meaning in words and sounds and sentences.  More.  More.  More.

I am addicted to words and the way they feel when I say them.  I love the sounds they produce, the way my tongue curls in my mouth or vibrates against my teeth or my soft palette.  I love how a word can have multiple meanings and how a really good writer can use those multiple meanings in one stroke of the word.  Genius!

So, as I was writing about this student and his praise and the incredible joy that made me grab the seam of my pants and curtsy to him, I briefly remembered a line of poetry that I have loved for thirty years…”touched the face of God.”

I used to think that line was from an Emily Dickinson poem.  Come on…in my defense, I read it for the first time in Bloom County when Opus was frustrated that he couldn’t fly.  However, thanks to the internet and a shoddy memory, I found the poem….

High Flight”

 “Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”

The poem was written by John Gillespie Magee, Jr, an American pilot during World War II.  Although he is writing about the act of flight in an airplane, for me, this was about the soul losing its tether to the Earth or to reality and being lifted by joy, by the sense of accomplishment, by the ability to stand next to one’s self and just live purely and utterly.

When that lovely young man told me, today, that he liked my writing, as simple as it was, I “Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”

Writing, for me, is breathing, living, eating.  It is sustenance, nutrient, nourishment, life.  It is everything and nothing.  Would I give up writing to save my children’s lives?  Yes.  Don’t bother asking.

Would I give up teaching to have a career in writing…..

Oh….that’s hard.

Because both passions are fulfilling and something I love with my entire heart.  However, they fulfill very different hemispheres of my being and do not conjoin.

If anything, as I go back and re-skim this poem, this is writing, for me.  When I am fully engaged in writing, I am no longer sitting in my blue recliner (which is where I am currently sitting) or in my chair in my office.  I am hovering in some part of the stratosphere, huddling with some stars and feeding off the joy of inspiration.

Writing is slipping past the gravity of reality and living in different skins or in different worlds.  Writing brings me back home to Germany where I can once more walk mountain paths with my parents and watch the wind gust so strongly that my father could stand at a steep angle and the wind kept him from falling.

Writing puts me back onto the steep slopes of my mountain in West Virginia and I am once more watching the mist rise from the river in the valley and comb itself on pine tree needles, leaving behind ghostly white tendrils.

I have dreamt about my characters, promising them to tell their stories.

I have written stories about the dreams I have had.

I have written down and, thereby, exorcised my emotions and put on new skins and became a woman who is slowly losing her fears and instead embracing life.

Because I must live my life in order to write about life.  I must live my life in order to write.

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