"Because of the spirit, I say. Because of the heart. Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. " -Anne Lamott answering the question of why our writing matters in Bird by Bird
Yesterday I pulled into the parking lot at Crema, my head swirling with a cacophony of thoughts. This is how my mind works, especially while driving. I flit here and there, processing and wondering and remembering and noting. I checked my reflection in the rear view mirror, then stepped out of the car.
To my surprise, my friend Amanda stood there. Amanda, my local writing buddy whom I often meet at Crema where we chat and write and laugh. We've found coffeehouses to be the perfect venue for such things. Mostly, we help each other feel sane. Every writer needs another writer in their corner for this reason.
I had plans to meet with another friend yesterday morning and yet here was Amanda. We hugged, we convened in the parking lot. We didn't talk about writing. It was ordained, I have no doubt.
And then Ed Cyzewski arrived and Amanda left. In town for the weekend, Ed carved out some time for us to hang out. I love when blog friends materialize in person. We have a sense for their writing voice and snippets of who they are. But we don't know how their voices sound or the facial expressions they make when cracking a joke. We also don't know whether our conversation will soar sans keyboard or sink.
Let me tell you.
The conversation with Ed meandered, as my favorite ones do. We touched on writing, of course, but also family and callings and Nashville. He generously advised me on a new idea (!) I've been mulling over. And I? I'm not sure what my contribution was to the discussion but Ed likes to say I have a PhD in keeping it real so we'll assume I continued to keep it real.
Writing and reading feed my soul, yes. Interacting with writers and readers feeds it evermore.
Writers understand a part of me that non-writers don't. They know what it's like to have a passion for something right up until the moment you sit down to write about it. They understand the time and energy dedicated to a craft that may or may not have any "official" payoff. They understand how writing can make us happier and feel more fulfilled than the other jobs we tried on for size.
This, this I have needed.
(Meeting Ed also means checking something off the Life List. Yay!)
What feeds your soul?