Citizen Wausau

A Site About Life in Wausau, Wisconsin

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Why I Hope You Write

by on July 17th, 2013

The most influential book of my life is Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh.  In my grade school (Schofield Elementary Cardinals represent!) the bookish boys all aspired to read The Hobbit, and bookish girls all wanted to read Little Women.  These were the thick books in the school library, and we all took turns at their epicness.  But, around that time I found Harriet, and she changed my life forever.

You see Harriet is a girl who writes everything down.  She sees herself as sort of a spy, taking observational notes on her surroundings, like she is working a case.  She sneaks into places, sees unique characters, and writes it all down in her notebook.  Her life is a grand adventure.  I wanted that adventure too, and for some reason writing it all down made sense.

I started writing the day 6th grade ended.  I got my braces on that day, and started what would be considered a diary, only I stuck with it.  About 20 minutes a day, with a pen and paper, until now, and I am 42 years old.  I took a full year off twice for personal reasons, but for the most part, that is the document of my life.

We try not to get too existential or philosophical here on CW, and that might or might not be a good thing.  I listened to a podcast about the death of the humanities on college campuses, and thought about writing.

I want you to write.  Not for CW, but I do want you to write for CW, we do not make any money here, so that is not the reason.  But, I think the the more voices the better.  I think that the internet has changed things forever, and I think that writing is going to be the thread that connects Ralph Ellison to Twitter and beyond.  Writing.

Writing, for me, is an amazing thing.  It is so much more than the issue at hand.  If I am writing about a bike path, or the city council, or the post office, it is far more than that.  Writing to me is an exercise.  It is a meditation.  It is documentation.

1.  Writing documents a time and place.  I can go back on this blog and remember where I was when someone called me about a skateboard ordinance, and that memory can be a positive or a negative.  It can do the same for the reader.  Privately, my writing can be a document of the things that were in my life at any given moment.  More than that, writing about something is a time capsule for that time.  We can look back at writing about say, Weston putting together the idea of a skatepark, and then look at the skate park that happened, and see if it matches up.

2.  Writing is a meditation.  It is calming to sit and take a moment, and write down what you have in your head.  To make sense of the ideas.  Pulling them from inside, and putting them outside allows you to see what they are in a new way, and it makes them easier.  All of this is meditation.

3.  I think writing is exercise.  The more I write, the better my communication skills are, the better my writing becomes.  It is like running (I assume) the more you run, the better you become, the more efficient and all the positive things.  I think writing is all of that.

I am sure that in today’s internet, the desire to get likes, and hits, and clicks, and retweets can be all consuming.  It surely has created an industry of people who seem to only be interested in the loudness of what you say, and not what you say.  It demands that the audience is the primary model of success in the exchange, and that is not always the case.

Sometimes just telling your story, writing your words, FOR YOU is what matters.  Claiming your story, your experience, your voice, is what matters.  I have never showed you or anyone my journals, but they are all there.  And I have loved the writing.  Even though they do not have and probably will never have an audience.

Writing for me almost seems antithetical in 2013.  Why would I take the time to write something, or paint something, or sew something, if I am not going to show it, post it, tweet it, pin it, whatever.  Sometimes, the writing of a thing is what matter far more to me than anything else.

I hope that you write.  Even if you do not show it to me, or ask to post it here, I hope that you write.  I hope that you document your place in the world, I hope that you use words to make sense of our confusing world.  I hope that you do all of the things that writing can do.

We, my part at least, started this blog to find a way to elevate the stories of Wausau to the internet.  I think we did well for a while, and then it waned and all the rest.  With all the tools out there to self publish, you do not really need us to help you.  And to be frank, that is all that matters.  That you are writing, publishing, if you want to.

But, what matters to me more, is that you write.  If you write for 30 minutes a day, the world will be saved.  Even if you never show it to anyone.  I promise.

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