How Writing Saved my Life
People write a lot about things that saved their life. Sometimes it's a wonderful dog story, about how the barking woke them up out of a sound sleep. Smoke was in their room, the house is on fire and they run out! Rescued by a dog! Other times it's a person or an angel that saved them. Often it's a mysterious guidance, a hand showing the way, a person who is not a person picking them up and spiriting them away. I wouldn't mind being saved by a supernatural being. It's the kind of story you can dine out on for a year. Make it aliens for the UFO crew, or an angelic being for your fundamentalist friends. But in my case it wasn't my mutt, and it wasn't an other worldly experience. It was writing, plain and simple.
Let me preface this story by tell you how my life was, and how it ended. Once upon a time I was a mild mannered housewife with all of the accoutrements. I had a nice husband. He had a job. I had a son, I would say a "beautiful" child, but I think that sentiment is a little over used. Mine was a creative, handsome rascal. We'll leave it at that. I had a part time job. We applied for and received a mortgage loan for a nice house in a rural area. We had a church family, a belief system, neighbors, even three dogs.
My life ended abruptly one day when my husband walked out on me. He never said, "This isn't working out, let's get counseling." He never told me what made him so unhappy that he needed to do drugs. He never mentioned a trigger, never tried to work things out with me. He just left. Leaving me with lots of unanswered questions, and a very fragile sense of self. I had built my life around him, there was no other center to my universe. After his defection the remainder of my life cracked and flaked until my life no longer resembled itself.
First to go was my church family. Acting quicker than myself he invited them into our marriage, telling them I had "kicked" him out. He needed money, of course, to buy drugs. They innocently obliged. It was the Christian thing to do. They didn't know he was getting loaded. They thought they were helping him. When I asked them to stop, so he could hit rock bottom, they thought I was being mean, as well as un-submissive, and sinful. I didn't invite them into my marriage, he did. So I could hardly explain to them why I was doing anything. They fell away.
Next my son left. He was an adult. I couldn't expect him to stay in crazy land just to help me pay my bills. Then my job dried up, the company didn't have enough business to justify my position. Ironic. I couldn't make my mortgage on my last remaining part time job, so with a heavy heart I rented my house to a family with better prospects. Then my dog died. She might have lived longer if I had had the money to do right by her, but I couldn't afford a doctor even for myself.
The last thing I had left was my sense of self. I started writing again after a twenty year hiatus. I started posting my poetry to facebook, and sending it to editors and magazines. At the end of another hard day, it feels good to see an acceptance. Writing on info barrel is free, low calorie and endlessly stimulating. You can read other people's work, you can study, learn, friend people. You can even enter contests. Writing is a way to have a voice in a shut up world.