I’ve never known how to answer people when they ask, “How is it possible you’ve written so manynovels?”
I stare blankly, scrunch my nose, then smile with that awkward over-animated frog face I make sometimes. Eventually, I come up with some goofy answer like “It’s what I do” or “My brain is crowded and it helps me get some ideas out.” I enjoy responding with a wink and a healthy bout of sarcasm. Ah…why we do what we do.
Not long ago, I heard the real answer. It came without pretense. I was, ironically enough, asking another mom and friend from the soccer team how she runs so many marathons (not to mention how she finals with crazy fast times). The woman is my hero. Before a game one day, she took off sprinting at the far end of the field in order to squeeze in a run. I had to double check with another parent on the sidelines that I wasn’t seeing things. I’m talking Road Runner fast.
I pulled this endurance guru aside and asked it straight, “How do you run like you do? What’s your motivation?”
She laughed. Then, without any added explanation, this mom of four young girls admitted, “It’s how I stay sane.”
Say no more. I got it.
I get it.
Call it an outlet, a passion, our oxygen, a stress reliever, a calling, or a vocation. Call it what you will, but I understand this intense level of commitment as a road to sanity.
Protecting the mind. Nourishing the soul. Counterbalancing all the grating and ugly we rub up against during our days here.
Every time I sit to write I’m restoring, reconciling—reinstating sanity. I’m making sense of a senseless world if only by piecing together letter after letter. Word by word. It’s healing for me—this practice of rolling out words like a red carpet, smashing them like an angry kid stomping on a sandcastle, stringing sentences along like fresh linen whipping in the breeze on a clothesline.
So, sure, there are plenty of reasons why I write and keep writing.
But I bet you can guess my latest response to inquiries regarding my commitment to writing.
Sanity, it’s a good thing.
How about you—do you have something you pour yourself into that ends up replenishing your sanity?
*photo by stock.XCHNG