Monday, September 17, 2012

You Never Know

The life of a writer, an artist, can be isolating. While you’re likely not working in a windowless garret; you are, nonetheless, working in solitude. Eventually, you send your work out into the world; and then it’s back to the grindstone, isolated and alone again.
What you’ve sent out into the world is out there, on its own, “under consideration.” You wish it well, hope it’s well-received, but your focus and priorities are now on the next project. What is done is done. Hopefully, what you’ve sent out is accepted, thus finding its place in the world. And it’s from there the life your project leads will take it places you’ll never know of—unless word comes back to you.
One of the things I consistently do is write a short piece for my church’s monthly newsletter. Years ago, I gave a printout of one of these to a friend who worked in the same real estate office as the woman I’d written about. A few months later, I learned that this woman had hit a low spot, questioning whether what she did really mattered. My friend showed her what I’d written, telling her, “It’s about you.” My friend me that that little piece of my writing effected a one-eighty in her co-worker’s outlook on herself and her life. Had I not been told this, I likely would have totally forgotten that little bit of writing, having let it fall from memory like the previous newsletter bits before, and most of them since.
John Lennon wrote, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Sometimes, while we’re focused elsewhere, a project we’ve worked on, finished, and sent out into the world is still out there, working; still not finished. And we may never know.


  1. Good stuff takes on a life of its own and keeps on growing / giving long after we've released it. Isn't THAT a cool feature of God's economy?!?

  2. Yupper, God's economy is based on extravagance, which is purty durn cool.
    For quite a good while, when I'd think my writing didn't matter worth a shit, I'd remember this happening, and find I couldn't keep thinking that the writing I did didn't matter. As these things happen, (see: God's extravagance), I've acquired quite a quiver of such, "You don't get to question the validity of your writing, young man," happenings.