Anna Quindlen’s New York Times columns were a strong, early influence on my writing. The title of one of her collections is “Living Out Loud.” I understand it to refer to the act of writing about life, one’s own everyday life in particular.
Why do I choose to publicly post my banal progress through a year of life, to “live out loud” through words? Why not a private journal?
First, knowing that at least a small number of people expect something from me holds me accountable. If I quit this commitment to a year of daily exploration through writing, I’ll be quitting more than just myself.
Second, our innate humanity seeks connection. It can feel (sometimes maddeningly) essential to have others bear witness to our solitary journey across time, our “one wild and precious life.*” If you doubt it, consider the explosive popularity of social media. There is comfort in companionship, even in the form of the occasional “like.”
Third, I like to believe, since I constantly find illumination in the words and experiences of others, that maybe some of my shared meanderings might strike a chord with someone else. Pooled wisdom can elevate us beyond the reach of the solitary mind.
*Mary Oliver: “The Summer Day”
My 60th year in 60,000 words
Day 162: 207 words, TOTAL = 26,416; 33,584 remaining
Robin Clifford Wood is an award-winning author, poet, and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her children, grandchildren, and granddogs.