Writing for Yourself

I had myself all psyched up to read my literary short story, Forget Me Not, to a packed room on Sunday, during the release party for the 2014 Backbone Mountain Review. That is until the very moment I entered the room and approached the sign up sheet for those wanting to read. It was then I realized I would not be able to finish reading the story without becoming emotional myself. And I understood then, why I had waited so long to submit the story anywhere.

The idea for the story came to me while in the Memorial Hospital waiting room as my wife was undergoing surgery to have a torn muscle in her knee repaired. I had been given a slip of paper with a number on it that corresponded with my wife's information.  My very first thought upon receiving the paper was how impersonal it all seemed. That string of numbers barely scratched the surface of the vibrant, beautiful, woman they represented. As if her life, and everything she represented to me, her children, and grandchildren had been condensed down to a mere string of eight digits.

Now of course the surgery was in no way truly life threatening. After all it was just her knee. But the writer's mind began to gnaw at all the possible ways something could go wrong and I held my breath every time an update came through on the flat panel television hanging from the wall. You see I'm a worrier. I'm the kind of person who hopes for the best, yet prepares for the worst.

I had written the story just for myself. To excise the demons of worry that had hooked their claws into me.  It became an emotional release that was expelled and forgotten, relegated to the bottom of my drawer as my life moved on.

Yet I find myself coming full circle as the possibility of Thyroid cancer hangs over the head of the woman I married. The doctors are confident there is nothing to worry about, my wife is as well, but me, you see I'm a worrier. I hope for the best, but plan for the worst. I know we'll get through this just as we've gotten through all the myriad other problems we've experienced together. Just as we'll get through whatever else life has to throw our way.

And in the wee hours of the morning, when the worry becomes too much, I'll slip down from my bed and pour my soul onto the page. I'll chase away the specter that hovers above my head and return to a restful night sleep. Some people work crossword puzzles when they're worried. Some may clean. Others become lost in old movies from their childhood.

Writers? Well we write.

P.S:  I've added the story to this blog. You can find the link up top just below my photo. Take a look at it, give it a read, and please don't hesitate to let me know what you think. I'd be delighted to hear your thoughts.


  1. Dammit, Rich, you just made me cry. But yes, I do the same thing - the writers imagination can sometimes be a terrible thing.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Kat. I'm not going to apologize for your tears as it is the highest compliment a writer can receive. Thank you.