I am obsessed with writing. Seriously—I am. I wasn’t always that way, but it’s impossible to deny it at this stage of my life.
I’ve always written pretty well, but I didn’t give it a lot of thought. I had good teachers, a simple writing style, and even though I was accused by some teachers on a number of occasions of veering slightly (or greatly) off topic, they forgave me because what I wrote was usually articulate and interesting. (Of course, I couldn’t get away with that more than once with any particular teacher.)
I didn’t intentionally go off topic. It’s just that my creativity took me in unexpected directions, and before I knew it, I was writing about something other than the assigned topic. But I loved what I’d discovered so very much! Sometimes I didn’t realize how far I’d wandered away from the theme; at other times I took my chances and turned in my papers. Besides, I was a respectful and hard-working student and that gave me plenty of cover.
I didn’t start to write seriously until I began my own businesses. (I don’t think I can include essays on Whiskers the cat that I wrote for the local newspaper when I was ten years old.) When I taught writing courses, and later started up a consulting business, I wrote articles for professional organizations on related topics, mostly as a way to promote myself. I enjoyed that writing, but my topics were limited to the work I did.
Later I wrote a book (that is now out of print), and I think I loved the process as much as I enjoyed the writing.
But in March 2014, I discovered Ricochet—that really seeded my obsession for writing.
I’d never written for or commented on a blog before Ricochet. I lurked for several months and was inspired by the lively, intellectual and funny discussions. I finally dove in and wrote an article on being a conservative Buddhist*. It was not only well-received, but it was promoted to the Main Feed! I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. And I was hooked.
I am in love with the writing process. From the germination of an idea, to making initial notes to see if my enthusiasm grows, to writing a brief outline, to composing a draft—all of it captivates me. It’s like watching one of those films where a flower seed is planted, and I see the first stem magically poke its head above the soil, watch it spread its petals and turn into something beautiful. Then again, sometimes my posts turn out more like weeds or stinky bulbs. I always hope I catch those before I post them.
Writing is a way to share who I am; it’s way to get to know all of you better, to learn from you, to laugh with you. I can’t count the number of times readers have kindly corrected me, passionately challenged me, and made me laugh at myself. I treasure all of those exchanges, where my posts are more like the planted seeds and your comments are the stems, the leaves and the exotic flowers that open.
Of course, zeal can create problems. I try to be sure that nothing gets in the way of my commitments to my husband and friends. I write when I am alone and usually undisturbed and I protect my privacy. On busier days with promises to keep, my writing waits in my Ricochet folder until I am prepared to post it and exchange thoughts with the readers. Writing for Ricochet has become one of the most fun and rewarding experiences of my life. My zeal for it only grows.
I feel blessed that I’m a decent writer and that many of you read and respond to what I write.
*I returned to my Jewish roots and no longer practice Buddhism.