A few weeks ago, a source told me that many good writers are able to depict darkness; what distinguishes a great writer is his ability to capture light and draw readers toward it irresistibly. He was referring to C.S. Lewis, one of the greatest authors of the twentieth century, but the distinction stuck with me: Am I a good writer or a great one?
I’ve always known that I don’t write as beautifully or as profoundly about life when I’m actually living in it, a strange irony that I don’t quite understand. My best reflections are inspired spurts of emotions that just come out as words; I can’t recreate it on command. And while I’ve been able to write about how I struggle or what makes me sad or contemplative, I never quite have been able to capture the positive emotions in words when I feel them.
It’s especially frustrating because it makes me think of Instagram, the social-media/ photo-sharing app that lets me put filters on my mediocre pictures and call them ‘artsy.’ I’m no photographer, but I can add digital filters with the best of them. And in the same way, I want Instagram filters for my words so I can write my life more beautifully.
However, I have the sneaking suspicion that C.S. Lewis did not use any kind of Word-stagram filter when he wrote about joy.
I guess the good news (at least for me) is that my absence on my blog is not entirely due to an extended case of writer’s block. In some ways, it’s due to a lack of time—not busyness with work, but just using my time for other things I enjoy, such as biking or walking or reading or cooking. And let’s face it: It’s partially due to the fact that I’m just not good at blogging consistently without a deadline or an editor.
Yet, I also know that it’s because I’m happier now. That’s a good thing. Instead of trying to put my joy into words on this screen, I simply give up—and let myself live into it a little more instead. Even for a writer—maybe especially so—that’s okay, too.
(On that note: I realized today that I have only 10 weeks left in Illinois. Here’s to living into my final weeks here, in order to make up for all the time this winter when I wasn’t really here at all.)