Oddments

In search of story

Why the search?

2 Comments

If a towering amorphous being made up of events, persons, times, feelings stood in front of me and flashed “I am a story” in oversized neon letters, I wouldn’t see it. I cannot see the story. So how can I be a writer? This is the question.

I started writing a book about caregiving while I was still a caregiver, though at the time I didn’t know it was a book; I was only turning to writing as a way to cope. Also my years of caregiving coincided with my first computer and therefore my first emails. The writing took off, not in any polished way, but in my unfettered, if silent, daily wail. Later, when I revisited the writing (and the experience) and tried to create something coherent out of it, I perceived only moments, pieces, oddments, never the whole, and certainly no story.

I still struggle to find — and tell — the story, not just about caregiving but about anything; I still perceive only moments, pieces, oddments. But I’m coming to think that maybe they hold their own, these oddments, that maybe I can just tell about them and readers can find the story that is veiled to me. And maybe I’d still be a writer.

So this is a blog about oddments. Trying to write about caregiving has caused me to value the oddments wherever I come upon them. So I write about them, small and disconnected, part of caregiving or not, and honor them for what they are. In so doing, will I miss the big picture? Possibly. But others get the big picture and so I leave it to them. I will be more the selectively myopic hiker who misses the redwood because she’s entranced by a single leaf. And maybe that’s all right. Maybe the story is in the eye of the beholder anyway.

But, because I want to be a writer and writers tell stories, I will keep searching for story.

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2 thoughts on “Why the search?

  1. You really are a writer, according not only to me, but John McPhee’s advice to writers in the April 29 issue of the New Yorker, entitled “Draft No. 4.” John McPhee, should you not know, has been a writer for over 50 years. And I quote, “If you lack confidence in setting one word after another and sense that you are stuck in a place from which you will never be set free, if you feel sure that you will never make it and were not cut out to do this, if your prose seems stillborn and you completely lack confidence, you must be a writer” (p. 32). He goes on to give quite good advice that made a great deal of sense to me. It is worth the price of the magazine.

  2. Pingback: Disconnections: September 19 & 20 | Oddments

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