Thursday, May 24, 2012

Myself & Strangers

When I started writing this blog I did it because I felt that there were a lot of things that had been on my mind that I needed to get out. It had been almost a year since Brennis had his heart attack and all of these thoughts had been in my head rolling around for so long they just had to come out. I chose a blog because it was efficient and because I could then share my thoughts with others. I felt that I had something to say that might mean something to somenone else.

What I didn’t even consider when I started is that I was telling not just my story but Brennis’ story (and the story of a lot of other people who lived with us through it) as well. After I had posted a few blogs it dawned on me that I had never asked Brennis whether he minded me writing about his experience last year. I had honestly never thought about the ramifications of writing about such a personal experience. I was just purging my emotions.

When it finally dawned on me to ask Brennis he was gracious and said he didn’t mind. It was the first time I had become aware that people would be reacting to what I was writing. Suddenly I was overcome with the feeling that I would have to be careful about what I said in this blog because it was public and because it was about Brennis and other people I know. Then people started making comments on the blog and I started to be conscious of what I was writing in the context of some of the comments. I found it frustrating and stifling and I didn’t let it interfere for long.

Gertrude Stein once said that she wrote for “myself and strangers”. I never really understood what that meant until I started writing this. Writing for me comes from somewhere outside of my consciousness. I don’t really “think” when I’m writing as much as “process”. Sometimes it feels to me that the worlds come from my fingertips right to the computer screen. The only time I really stop to think is if I get stuck on a spelling or phrasing. Otherwise the words generally just come “out of me”.

When I began worrying about Brennis and when people started commenting about my blog I suddenly became acutely aware of what I was writing and I began to think too much. What I think Gertrude Stein meant when she said she wrote for herself and strangers is that you are essentially writing for yourself as a creative act and that your audience must remain “strangers” in your mind or else you risk writing something specifically for a particular “audience”. I didn’t want to feel like I was editing myself because someone might be offended or not like what I was saying. I wanted to continue the process of writing from my consciousness as much as I was able.

So I am writing this with my fingertips…not with my brain. I wonder how much of our lives would be better lived if we didn’t use our brains so much. Sure we have to know not to touch something hot because it might burn us….but haven’t we really become so afraid of everything that we stop inviting our spirits along on the journey with us? We get so involved in the tiny details of our lives that we often forget that we are living in a miracle. If you are nourished and sheltered you have enough. The million things that you have to do today to perpetuate the million things you told yourself you needed yesterday is all just extra stuff. Extra stuff is good but you don’t need it at the expense of living your life.

Maybe we should start LIVING for ourselves and strangers. I know it sounds selfish but I don’t believe it is. If I am more honest with myself about what I want I am presenting the real me and the real me is the person I want people to know. The real me is pretty amazing and has a lot to offer others. The real me has more time to be loving and caring and giving because he isn’t so busy pretending to be someone he’s not. Pretending can be exhausting and never gets us anywhere. Trying to get people to like us (or at the very least not HATE us) takes a lot of effort. If they don’t like us, so what? Are we going to run out of people? It’s doubtful.

So I will continue to write with my fingertips….sometimes my brain will try to take over but I won’t let it. If you don’t like something I say let me know. You’ve read this far and I’d like to know the real you too.

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