Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Part One, Exhibit A: Writing Therapy.

A forthcoming post took way too long for me to write, though I hadn't expected it to. I think I've developed a barometer of sorts, that determines how near and dear a topic is to my heart. If I write a piece fairly quickly, it means I find the subject mildly interesting (or want to cop a laugh off my readers). On the other hand, if I write several paragraphs and then get writer's block, it means the subject is too personal for me to glibly pen and post. I seem to have a hard time writing about parts of my life, or people in my life, that I care deeply about.

Maybe I've found a new way to prioritize the elements that make up my life? I could write about the people I know, and the things I do, and see which topics stop me cold. Perhaps I'd find that I don't give a hoot about something I'm angsting over. Conversely, I may be neglecting someone, or something, that makes a tremendous difference in my life.

Consider the upcoming post: I didn't realize the topic was so meaningful to me until I attempted to write about it three times and failed. It started out as a simple story that evoked emotions within, and then evolved into a completely different story. On the outside, it's a quaint observation of Spring. On the inside, it's a look at relationships, traditions, friendships, and aging. So, I decided to break the original into two. Hopefully between the two of them, I'll do the subject matter justice. Part Two will contain the observation of Spring--read on for the rest of Part One.
Part One, Exhibit B: Fred.
I've known Fred since 1989. We started out as zookeeping co-workers, then moved on to be lunchtime compadres. When I quit zookeeping to go art school, my husband and I made pilgrimages to Fred's house. We'd all go fishing or hiking, or we'd watch science fiction movies in Fred's funky folk-museum of a den. Fred eventually quit zookeeping to become a nurse, and switched the pilgrimage to our house. (We had kids and became less footloose and fancy-free.)

That kind of friendship shouldn't be taken for granted. Most of my long-term friendships have evolved into a benign distance, and I admit it's mostly my fault. But Fred has stuck with us, and we've stuck with him, to the point that he's family. He's in the "Circle of Trust". He's "Uncle Fred". He is loved; by me, my husband, and my children. Heck, if you had told me back in the day that I would have Fred by my side as I struggled to birth a 9lb. behemoth, I would have laughed right in your face. By the time I was ready to deliver my second child, however, there's no one else I wanted around to support my husband and I. Good old Fred hung with us for that less than glamorous scenario, and has since put up with numerous toddler tantrums, in-car marital quibbles, and interactions with our attention-starved dog.

I guess that's why my first attempt was so difficult to write. To know how meaningful the subject is, you have to know how special Fred is. I want you to know what he means to me, and my family. But I'd never thought about what Fred meant to me and my family, until now. So, a post on Fred was well-warranted, before I ventured further into our exploits. So thanks, Fred, for being my friend, and being a friend to my family. (Keep that in mind the next time I flippantly call you a "moron" :)

Anyway, that's all one needs to know, to be in the proper frame of mind to read Part II; Coming Soon.