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“The joy that you give to others is the joy that comes back to you.” John Greenleaf Whittier
“Reading is that fruitful miracle of a communication in the midst of solitude.” Marcel Proust
Somehow, these words of wisdom, which I found penciled on the back of an envelope, seem to belong together: Two vastly different scribes on the same cosmic page. As writers, it’s wonderful to think that the joy we give to others through the stories we create brings us joy in return. And it’s equally inspiring to me to think that we storytellers are miracle makers – that, through the words we put on the page, we can reach out in the midst of our solitude and connect with others in the midst of theirs.
For me, Marcel’s words capture the ebb and flow of writing. We write in solitude and then communicate. We spend our days alone with the page and then those ages flow out into the world and are taken in and given a home in the hearts of others.
Ebb and flow – how well this describes the writing life!
The ebb and flow of coming up with the wisp of an idea and then letting others ideas swirl around, some receding and others enlivening and enriching it.
The ebb and flow of writing alone and then sharing our work at our critique groups, “open mike” gatherings, and retreats.
The ebb and flow of inspiration, which sometimes seems to flood us, then turns into a trickle until the next wave of inspiration comes and carries us farther.
The ebb and flow of our writing sessions, which sometimes perk along so smoothly and sometimes have a herky-jerky, lurching feeling to them.
It’s comforting, isn’t it, to realize that there’s a natural rhythm to what we do? That even when we are off alone creating, we are part of the natural order of things – not separate from it. And how amazing to know that what we create in solitude has the potential to be shared singly with millions of people everywhere.
Let’s take inspiration today from John and Marcel – let’s remember that we are joyful miracle makers who bear rich fruit with the words we share. Write on!