The gift of freedom

As mentioned previously, I’ve been reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (which I just finished today, with much regret…I LOVED it).

Then today, I read a post on Darksculpture’s blog, which loosely caused me to think about things that move us to sit down and write. As a result of Lamott’s book, I’ve been thinking about this a good deal lately.

Lamott said something in her book, in a chapter called “Writing a Present,” which totally struck and sort of changed me. Actually, it was a quote from Toni Morrison:

“The function of freedom is to free someone else.”

Lamott adds, “if you are no longer in bondage…tell your story. Risk freeing someone else. Not everyone will be glad that you did. Members of your family and other critics may wish you’d kept your secrets…”

I’ve had a story brewing inside me for a few years, something fairly painful I’ve wanted to write about, but didn’t want to come across as preachy or overly-moralizing. Or whiny, like I am just trying to get something off my chest. But then I realized that what I have to say – the freedom I found in living my story – may actually bring freedom to someone else by its reading. 

So for a couple weeks I’ve been writing 300 words (my daily goal)…just writing my story. It’s not in any particular order yet, I am just sharing parts as I remember and reflect on them. But I am hoping that one day, I may have something like a memoir of this difficult part of my life. We’ll see.

At the very least, I am doing what Lamott says: Just by writing, I am finding meaning in the suffering.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dayner
    Jun 22, 2010 @ 09:45:43

    I need to read Bird by Bird.
    I’m glad you’ve been writing your story. Even if you never share it with another person, putting it on paper will help you purge the bad feelings. At least, it helps me.
    It’s as if seeing these stories on paper makes them real, or tangible, and that makes them easier to face and deal with. In the end, it’s proof that you are stronger than anything that has happened in your life and you have survived.


    • kathanink
      Jun 22, 2010 @ 14:29:19

      Bird by Bird is so excellent…not a how to book, so much, but just a couple hundred pages of, “you can do it” and “you’re not crazy for feeling how you feel when you write.” It’s really been like an icy glass of lemonade to my writing soul.

      You know, survival is one thing I’ve been thinking about. I saw a TV show on addiction and there were 6 people that had a number of really painful things happen, which drove them to their addictions. I had every single one of those occur at some point in my life…and somehow, I am still sort of sane, free of addictions, and alive. There’s got to be a story in there somewhere.


  2. darksculptures
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 13:27:49

    I’m also proud that you don’t absorb all of the diverse opinions and allow people to convience you that what you want to do and what you are doing, you are doing for the wrong reasons. That takes strength!

    You have been so strong and so humble. Does that make sense? If not it was a huge compliment.

    Anyway, Love ya! Keep being you. You realize it is almost one year since you and I started this blogging thing. July 9th is just around the corner.


    • kathanink
      Jun 22, 2010 @ 14:25:22

      Thanks, DS – I am really grateful you are my friend and that you’ve been so encouraging to me this last year. It’s been a rough year for me…not the worst, but you guys haven’t seen me at my best and I’m glad you hung in there with me. 🙂

      Honestly, your compliment is one of the best I could possibly receive. Strength and humility…perhaps it comes through in my writing, if not really in my every day life. It’s hard to tell!



    • kathanink
      Jun 22, 2010 @ 14:30:21

      PS – I have my calendar marked that we started our blogs in July of last year. It’s hard to believe we’ve managed to do it this long, and have somehow gained steam along the way!!


  3. Natasha
    Jun 21, 2010 @ 11:42:20

    Good for you, Kathan. I’m glad you’re finding this helpful. I’ve found a couple of things in my life too difficult to write about yet — but I am beginning to see where writing about them could be helpful — maybe to me, and maybe to others (if I changed things around a bit so it wouldn’t be clear, mostly about the Whos).

    Now that you’ve finished Bird by Bird, it’s time to start Traveling Mercies.


    • kathanink
      Jun 22, 2010 @ 14:22:54

      I do want to read Travelling Mercies! But first I have to start On Writing by Stephen King. That’s the next book on my shelf (and I already have it).

      It is hard writing about difficult stuff that’s real (and not made up). It’s not that hard for me to write it, but rereading it is difficult and it’s hard for me to be very objective about it.


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