Sunday, November 18, 2018

On lifework and dandelion seeds

"I only managed today to write six thank-you notes. This is the kind of day which utterly depresses me because I cannot see it as a lifework, only an existence to thank people ..."
--May Sarton, At Eighty-Two: A Journal

I know what Sarton means here; we often think of our notes, emails, blog posts, etc., as not "real writing," or what she refers to as "lifework." The lifework consists of the carefully crafted stories and articles and books that we deliberately put out for the world's notice ... right?

Well, yes and no. It occurs to me that when I correspond with someone, I'm establishing the very kind of connection that I want my published writing to achieve. I'm just doing it one-to-one instead of one-to-many. At this point in my life I've seen how rare and fleeting and unpredictable the one-to-many connections can be. 

And so I have a new regard for the less formal daily communications we practice. For some writers, letters and journals and other documents have become part of their lifework, even if they didn't plan it that way.

We don't always know what our lifework is, or what it will turn out to be. We blow dandelion seeds into the wind, and who can say which ones will sprout and flower?

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