I have stayed away from writing again for the same reason I always do. While a million ideas might pass through my mind, I always feel that I either can’t do them justice or that they simply aren’t worth writing about. Usually, the former because I so often occupy my thought space with big, important things that I feel passionate about, and it seems pointless to write about anything else. But, as I have no expertise on anything except what happens within my own life, I fear that whatever I have to say on any subject will fall flat and unimpressively onto the page.
Today I was given some encouragement and permission to write the way I have always loved writing and wanted to write—in short, often simple observations that capture me and make me feel awe, amusement, love, passion, curiosity. These are the meat of our lives. Or maybe the grain, considering the food pyramid I knew as a child. Is that still a thing today? Either way, whoever coined the saying “It’s the little things” hit the nail so directly on the head, boiling it down to such simplicity that most of us have lost the gravity of it. The realness of how much the small things affect us or can affect us if we give them the opportunity. I experience something that momentarily astounds or moves me several times each week, if not daily. Being a writer, I almost instantly start putting the feeling and experience into words in my head but have always thought they were good ideas for a larger work. Not enough to stand on their own.
I want to personally thank Mr. E.B. White for showing me today how wrong I was. As I listened to One Man’s Meat—which I highly recommend—I recognized myself in his writing. Not his style or impeccable language, but in the short musings and stream-of-consciousness essays that make up this book. He brought it all the way to the center of my heart, in the eighth chapter, Saltwater Farm, when he wrote:
“I was sorry to hear the other day that a certain writer, appalled by the cruel events of the world, had pledged himself never to write anything that wasn’t constructive and significant and liberty-loving. I have an idea that this, in its own way, is bad news.
“…Having resolved to be nothing but significant, he is in a fair way to lose his effectiveness.”
That was so powerful to me. A firm and brilliant reminder from the past that I should be writing for the sake of writing, and that while all the world seems to be on fire, and as much as I want to say something important, it is in these exercises that I find the good, I find my own gratitude, and I find myself.
I read Charlotte’s Web twelve times when I was ten years old. I had no idea at the time that E.B. White had died the year before or that he had left another gift to be found decades later by my grown-up self. Thank you, “Andy,” for helping me find my pen again.