letters published: part 1

I have asked myself many a times why I continue to write here.  Is it some ploy for the slightest bit of attention? Is it to work of emotions, be it happy, stressed, upset, elated?  Is it that somehow I feel connected to a whole world from a small town in Louisiana when I write here? I suppose all have a yes that comes along with it – if I am being honest. 

There is one thing in 350 blogs that I have missed in all this and last weekend opened my eyes.  I was sitting listening to the Avett Brothers, Bob Schneider, and some David Gray and while having this great conversation and the topic of the southern narrative came up.  Most of us in Louisiana or anywhere have experienced the moment when we are completely engulfed in our grandfather’s story. Words seemed to roll off his tongue.  His inflection raised ever so slightly as he got closer to the climax of his story.  You hung on every word as he spoke of the sugar he got from that pretty girl way back when.  The idea that in combination with the morning feedings of the catfish, my Nana’s perfect cinnamon rolls waiting for us after, and the way he left me with a sense of home each time I left seems to be, well, quite amazing. 

It has been a little over 5 years since my Nana passed and just under 5 since my Papaw joined Jonny, June, and Nana.  With me they left their narrative or at least the narrative they created with me.  In 350 blogs, with this one 351, the one thing I missed was that in some small way, I am writing my narrative. 

Something is lost when I tell my story verbally as I do not talk slowly and words have never just rolled off my tongue.  I have always been better at writing it down.  I suppose in that sense I am my father’s daughter.  My father was journalist.  He never told me one story in person.  I imagine had he it wouldn’t have the same effect.  I imagine he spoke fast and tripped over the right words to say, but he wrote beautifully.  He left, leaving a story in my hand, unintentionally, but he left it. 

I remember reading this article about him written long after he was gone and Mr. Hilburn told the story of his charm and then he shared my fathers creative writing story of him working the lumber yard.  My dad spoke of this gentleman with arms bigger than the logs they were cutting and they shared a common lunch of vienna sausage.  How when the work day ended with a bell he simply looked at his new friend and said, “It’s Miller Time.”  I suppose in that one article I summed up the story of my father.  His logging story became his narrative, his bed time story, his letter, to his daughter.  Written words.   It is the power that came from his written words that  give me confidence when I am told to slow down when talking, or when I am fussed at for saying “like” 50 times in a 100 word presentation, or when I am told I talk in circles.  I may never be one that can tell you my story or any story verbally, but just like my dad, I can write it down and so I do.  Sometimes I hit publish.

I am not going to be so grand as to say my intention all along has been to share something that would describe ever so perfectly who I was, but unintentionally I was writing my narrative.  It has become my time line of 3 years.  My narrative has evolved because I have.  It is an awesome experience when Whitney circa 2008 speaks to Whitney circa 2011 because I chose to write it down.  Because I had a story to tell, be it ever so unimportant then or now.  It is an amazing thing to know where my confidence lied, as I am sharing my creative process, my thoughts, my narrative in a very public forum. It is enlightening to read my letters I wrote to the world wide web…letters never sent, but published. Letters that tell the story my journey to my summit.

To be continued. 

lifetimes of paper rainbows…W

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