This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the past. It tends to happen when a loved one dies. Conversations and experiences resurfaced in such vivid details that the writer in me wanted to sit down and mine those memories for material for my writing. But I couldn’t. There were too many other things going on around me and in me.
I played solitaire on my computer, instead.
Yesterday, I gathered with my family to support my aunt and cousin, reconnecting with relatives I hadn’t seen in years. With each interaction pieces of the past emerged. I wondered why I didn’t have such rich recollections when I’m sitting at my desk writing. I wanted to jot down notes so that I would remember all the images and stories that were floating through my mind. But then I’d glance toward my cousin’s coffin and suddenly couldn’t remember what was so important. Grief took over.
I wasn’t in control. My emotions were raw. Images, reminiscences and thoughts came up without a filter. And it occurs to me that in there is a valuable writing lesson.
When we let go of control, we have access to so much rich material within us.