Friday, July 19, 2013

Writing for My Life!

My husband and I bought a 25-foot tritoon recently. With it, we received four life jackets, but the miniature dog we adore needs one, too. Our daughter and her husband need high-quality ski jackets because they trust us enough to throw out a rope and tow them through the wake on boards or tubes. And, of course, our granddaughter needs the type that will insure her head stays above water should something unimaginable occur. So we’ve been shopping for life preservers.

Photo by Connye Griffin, 2013

During the same period, I heard a brief televised report about a new study for folks my age. This one upheld the benefit derived from a daily walk if one wants to delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s, one common form of dementia. The more significant benefit derives from delaying retirement, affirming the value of intellectual activity as well as physical exercise. 

Snapshot taken by Al Griffin during a walk together, this one through the Oklahoma City Zoo, 2012

Forgive me for a bit of cynicism, but I can’t help wondering if the emphasis upon NOT retiring might be linked to the U. S. push to raise the age at which people qualify for Medicare and full Social Security benefits. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time that information was used to spin the truth to some political advantage. Even though this study comes to us in the U. S. from France where social programs and networks are fraying due to the 2008 economic downturn, who knows what happened in translating into English the results first reported in French.

But I digress.

I retired in 2010, but I retired into more time to write and write I have. Three unpublished novels, one how-to book about writing, several short stories, and three years of blogging keep me intellectually engaged. My husband, Al Griffin, has also devoted more time to his avocation, photography. With him, I participate in several photography forums through Google+, and these challenge me to comment upon the fine work I see daily, using specific vocabulary and communicating the effect of the photo.

So much artistic talent exists in this world. I hope that all people are able to find the time to flourish as we have.

Photo by Al Griffin, "Emma," Our Walking Companion Until Her Passing Recently

I’m convinced that writing as much as I do daily is wonderful intellectual activity. I see my experience from many angles, through various lenses. I discover memory and ideas as I write. I uncover what I think and feel by forcing myself to express both clearly and effectively.

I also walk daily and swim three times weekly. And I know how lucky I am to be able to so.

May you be lucky, too. Write for your life. Wrap yourself in words to keep your head above the confusion. Stay strong and persevere.

Reading Challenge:

Read Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life. In that fine book, you will read these words:

“One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”

Writing Challenge:

Write every day.