Monday, March 12, 2007

JK: Riding Through

A friend called today to tell me that a mutual friend of ours, 55 years old with five young girls and a lovely wife, had a heart attack last night and died. The call came in while I was speaking to my step-daughter about our 59 year old son in law’s impending, previously unscheduled by-pass surgery. I was writing. I don’t usually take calls while I’m writing.
The calls caused me to pause.

I want to be sure that how I am spending my time, the hours at the computer, the delights I discover through reading some tidbit of research, the sense of purpose I’ve been blessed to have by writing, do not ring louder in my ear than the smile on my husband’s face when I come out of my office, finished for the afternoon. I want to be sure that the passion I have for what I do does not outweigh the gifts of friendships and family that take time to nurture and maintain. I want that balance between appreciating the gift and using it well and not disappearing from the world around me because my fictional world is more in my control or lacks the pain and misfortune that will touch me if I stay within this world of relationship and loss.

There is pain and loss while writing deep within good fiction, which is what I try to write. But there is joy there, too. Sometimes, for me, there is more joy there than in my life. Someone once said writing was a lonely sport and I disagreed because I never feel less alone than when I’m writing. I have all those characters lives to think about.

But the truth is, sometimes writing lets me stay away from those living people I say I love. Sometimes I ride through life instead of in it. Mary Oliver’s words ring true. If I want to be able to say I was “a bride married to amazement” or that I was “a bridegroom opening my arms to the world,” I’ve got to shut the computer down and re-enter the real world I’ve been given, embrace the people in it and love them before they’re gone. I’m doing that now.

Jane Kirkpatrick,


At 2:19 AM, Blogger Christina Tarabochia said...

Oh, Jane. Very sorry about your friend and praying the best for your son-in-law. I appreciate your words on how to have relationships as a writer. Kind of reminds me of living in the world while not being of it. We live the story, but it is not who we really are.

At 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm so sorry for your loss, but thankful for this reminder. I'm one of those writers prone to living too much inside my head and heart, and like you I don't feel alone that way. But how true. As much as we feel called to write, we're also called to love one another. Can't do that if we don't make the effort to interact with those God has privileged us to be linked to.


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