Confessions of an AWOL writer

I just realized, much to my amazement, that I haven’t written a blog in months. I’ve written letters galore, articles for the newspaper, newsletters for church–but no blog.

I’ve had lots of ideas. I’ve tweaked recipes and thought they’d be fun to share. I’ve watched people say and do silly things and thought to poke a little fun. I’ve been caught up in reflection about more serious issues and felt the urge to expound a bit. But I didn’t do any of it. I haven’t visited this column-like blog since August.

I feel like I’ve been goofing off–but in reality, I’ve worked on lots of other things. I feel like I’ve stopped thinking critically, or humorously, but I’ve had some good conversations with friends and have kept George laughing when he least expected.

So, what happened? I haven’t a clue. It emptywasn’t writer’s block, it wasn’t a lack of thought, but maybe, just maybe it was the lack of time, and what an indictment that is. I’m a retired person. I’ve put schedules and timetables and appointment-filled days behind me. Haven’t I?  Or–and I shudder to think this–have I become one of those retired people who quickly fills my hours with other kinds of involvements as soon as I punched out for the last time. Have I forgotten how to say no, have I come to think that things just won’t get done unless I do them? I used to say, when chasing down retirees to interview for various stories, that the hardest people to reach were the retired people–and I vowed I’d never be one of them. Now I’m wondering.

It starts out slowly. I volunteered to be a Reading Buddy. Just once a week, for one hour. No big time chewer. I joined the church choir. I signed a freelance contract with a newspaper. I agreed to write a parish newsletter. Then I said yes to serving on the parish council. I accepted an invitation to join a Daniel Plan group. An hour a week here, an hour a week there, all things I truly enjoy. Instead of wearing one hat, I’m wearing dozens, and I have a calendar with very few blank days.

Is my blog-writing a casualty of this slowly escalating involvement? And should it matter? It should, because thinking about things and writing them down is something I’ve done my whole life, first in diaries, then in a newspaper column, and then here, in this online site that I always hope people will stumble across. Writing things down is like breathing fresh air, like nourishing a part of my own psyche. That’s something, then, that should never entirely disappear from the definition of who I am and what I do.

So, I’m back. Facebook can wait, television can wait, and, if necessary, household chores and the laundry can wait. Let someone else’s arm go up when volunteers are being sought. I have a blog to write, and I need to do it often.


About Monica Sawyn

I'm a retired newspaper reporter/columnist, and although I still freelance, I miss the weekly column I used to write. I still "see columns" in everyday life and need a place to put them after they're written--thus, this blog. I'm Catholic, have been a Benedictine oblate since 1977, and live with my husband and our beagle in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. When I'm not writing, I'm probably reading, sewing, taking photos or walking the dog.
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6 Responses to Confessions of an AWOL writer

  1. blb1 says:

    I’ve also written a journal on line since 1998 and a paper journal longer. This coming year both will come to an end. The paper journal because some days I can’t even read what I wrote. Plus daughter has no interest in them so when I pass she will have the job of destroying them. No one else who would want them. Her dad is like her.

    • Monica Sawyn says:

      I think the hardest thing about keeping diaries or journals is the sudden realization that no one will care. No one wants to read the minutiae of our days, or hear our philosophizing about things long gone. Then we have to realize that the writing has been good for US, that it helped us reflect, or laugh, or cry; it helped us deal with life around us. I kept a diary from the time I was about 10, but eventually destroyed all of them except my school years because sometimes things got controversial or extremely personal
      , and I decided I didn’t want or need to share. Just the act of writing life down is therapeutic.

  2. Denise says:

    I’m so glad the light finally went on! 🙂

  3. Nellie Prince says:

    Well, you were missed … by me anyway! I had hoped you were not ill, am more than happy to find that is not the case and will look forward to future blogs. Happy New Year!

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