On paper


On paper, I look like the perfect candidate for a career in nursing. I’m empathetic,not afraid of the dead, I take good notes, and I don’t faint at the sight of blood. I do, however, faint at the sight of eyeballs, but that’s a story for another day. Lots of folks call me dependable, which is code for boring and/or Room Mom candidate. I got straight A’s in nursing school. I say that not to brag because, seriously, who is impressed by someone who learns how to give an immunization on a ripe orange? I tell you this because it had me fooled. All of it, the empathy and A’s and high tolerance for bodily fluids. Every sign pointed in this direction, but I discovered too late that an aptitude for a particular subject doesn’t always translate into a love for it. I never loved nursing, not the way my classmates and co-workers did, not the way you have to love something in order to dedicate your life to it.

On paper, I don’t look like a writer. Or, more accurately, I don’t look like the vision I have of said writer. The Writer is cool. She listens to obscure indie music and carries a leather bound journal at all times. She thinks deep thoughts, quotes poetry, and reads books in the genre of magical realism. A genre which continues to baffle me despite a long and torturous attempt at reading One Hundred Years of Solitude. I am far too normal, ordinary really, in comparison to the The Writer. When I watch tv or go to church or tuck my kids in at night, I’m thinking the same thing you’re thinking (wow, I like her hair…where should we eat after service…did he remember to brush his teeth tonight?). I don’t have a degree in English, and my taste in books may be considered questionable in literary circles. I’ve always fancied writers and artists as boundary-less, as if they operate in a different space/time continuum, one that isn’t stacked with dirty dishes and matching socks and everyday concerns. And yet, I have a passion for books, for words, for capturing everything I see on the filmstrip behind my eyes when I close them at night. I’m learning that art can pour out of the most ordinary vessels, and I can’t stop the flow regardless of what I look like on paper. It flows because I love what happens when I do show up on paper.

On paper, the form of my everyday life takes the shape of something holy. And this holy doesn’t sit in a Parisian cafe writing the next breakthrough novel. It looks like me, doing the work I am created to do, from the scratched surface of my dining room table. Greeting the blank page with passion and a belief in this purpose. I have no choice but to create.


This week, I’m sharing a few thoughts on writing. I’d love to hear your thoughts on writing or creativity too. What do you look like on paper? Does this resonate with who you are on the inside? Or, maybe you want to explain One Hundred Years of Solitude to me, because frankly, it left me dazed and confused.

Here are a few links to some posts I love on the creative life:

Sarah on writing from the corner of the sofa.

Amanda on honoring the artist’s calling.

Lisa-Jo on creating in the middle of our ordinary spaces.

Do you have any links to share?