Can’t Write When I’m Blue

In a world of fast tweets and snappy updates, the pressure to write only funny, upbeat, laughing-at-life things is intense, but it’s the writer who knows how to be honest in the face of life’s hard moments that is most fully alive….

WE’D EMAIL back and forth
she and I
3-4 times a day

She’d be
“going to the library”
“the hairdresser”
“the A&P”
or perhaps
“staying home, looks like rain.”

I’d be
“doing laundry”
“finishing an article”
“straightening a mess”
“chauffering a child to marching band practice,
despite a light rain.”

“WHAT? They don’t cancel for rain?” she’d ask.
“Nope. Rain is just a part of life.”

Back and forth we’d write –
days on end,
weeks on end –

And then suddenly, nothing.
Long stretches of days.
I wouldn’t hear.

* * *

in a short span of months,
three different sets of friends
moved away
(nothing to do with me).

and I sat evenings
putting pen to paper,
writing letters to them all.

I did not want them lonely
in their new places.

Wally worked hard
to keep me in stamps
and I went through them like crazy,
but then there were times
when, all of a sudden
I didn’t.

There were times my pen laid silent,
times I did not write.

And it wasn’t due to
lack of time
or stamps
or things to say.

I just wasn’t in “a place” I could write, as they say.

Now, it would’ve done me good
to write to them about “the place” I was in,
but I didn’t know that
and I didn’t know how
and, looking back, a writing mentor would’ve done me wonders!

But I digress.

* * *

FOUR or 5 DAYS would pass –
maybe a week –
just as suddenly as she’d gone silent,
she’d pop back into my inbox
as newsy as ever –

“cashier wears her blouses so low there’s no secrets”
“the cutest dog, wish I could have one”
“a fabulous pops concert in the park” –

and we were back
to our old give-and-take.

We’d write on for weeks
and then
suddenly nothing.

This cycle kept repeating.
Several years!

And when at last I asked about it,
she said to me
straight out,
Can’t write when I’m blue.

And there it was,
somebody else in the world
like me!
(Always a comfort, that.)

BUT I didn’t want to stay like that.

A writer who can only write when UP
is going to be
absent from work
an awful lot
rain is part of life….everyone’s
and it’s okay to write about the rain.
You just need to find a way.

* * *

“It’s tempting,” Charity writes, “not to write about the every day dirt that accumulates…But what if you’re sitting there reading this, having a bad day, and you think, ‘Maybe I’m alone.’ And I have it in my power to promise you, You are not. Alone.”

What is it you can’t write about? You can. Maybe not on a blog. Maybe not on Facebook, but what needs to be said, there is almost always a place for it to be said. There really is.

“What’s mentionable is manageable.” – Fred Rogers

* * *

This post is part of the “There & back again” blog tour, begun by Charity, who encourages us to go soak up the words of another blogger and come back and write on the same topic from our own perspective. Links to the posts that prompted me to write today appear below.

Charity's "So You Had a Bad Day"

Kelly's "The Good, the Bad and the Things I Don't Share"

About Marilyn

Reading, thinking, listening, writing and talking about faith, creativity, ESL for refugees, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. Cheez-it fan. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. Thank you so much for reading.
This entry was posted in good blogs, There & back again, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Can’t Write When I’m Blue

  1. Fern Boldt says:

    I desperately want to tell my life story, but I can’t write about my childhood.


  2. Kelly & Charity got me to thinking, too. My latest blog entry was hard to post because a family member will be very upset. But, oh well. I’m not gonna let that stop me. I love her and she loves me. Besides, I’m a big girl.


  3. Marilyn – This was beautiful. I loved the format of what you have written – this poetry was so conversational and perfect.

    Sorry my link up wasn’t there for you today. I have a little trouble getting everything done this week. But I appreciate all your links here.


  4. laura says:

    Hello, my friend! I’m sorry it has taken me so long to stop by…September is a busy bee. But I have been thinking of you, sending you love and prayers.

    I am going through a dry spell right now with the writing and it has everything to do with the busy. Tired. So tired. I think I need a sit down and nice chat with a sweet friend.

    October holds so many promises.


  5. Belinda says:

    I loved it all. So thought provoking. I have those “silences between friends” sometimes but we have an understanding and don’t take it personally any more–although once upon a time, being such self referential beings, we would have done.

    I loved that quote–“what is mentionable is manageable.” So wise!


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