By Meredith H. Kaiser
Life’s transitions offer fertile ground for writers. When our feet are planted, each one in different soil, straddling two worlds, we are stretched to experience both places at once. That tension, our attention pulled in half, is the gift of new vision.
As writers, we can be blinded by familiarity, deadened by what is already known. But fresh directions, which we see in the context of where we’ve been and from where we set out, brighten our souls with the light of newness, possibility, awareness.
The challenge is that transitions require energy and the temptation is to focus on the details – learning a new job, packing for a move, mourning a death – while neglecting our need to write about it, to explore it in detail, to leave bread crumbs of words on paper as we travel our new path. Instead, we are encouraged to “put your head down and get through it”, “hunker down and hold on” rather than to keep our head up, our eyes open, our pens at the ready.
However, in order to grow and to mine the experience as writers, we must face the head winds of change and record the joys, fears and discoveries of the journey. Paying attention and making notes, that’s how we learn the lessons of transition. If we just stay busy and muddle through, we miss the whole point. And the lessons that are available to us remain unlearned. But they will wait for us around the next turn, patient for us to notice them.