The Weakest Reed

He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle.

Strangers on the Net: Exchanging Stanzas



This post is part of a bloghop in which I’m participating sponsored by Books Make a Difference, a bimonthly online magazine celebrating books, their creators and fans.


A few years ago, I started what would become one of the loneliest seasons of my life. As a mom I found myself often physically alone, but probably more importantly feeling just somehow misplaced and unseen.  Even when in the company of others I sometimes still felt isolation twisting its chilly tendrils around me.  There they were standing right next to me; bodies containing hearts beating warm blood and brains flashing lively, bright synapse storms.  But there I was, wielding the heavy chisel of social convention, exhausted from my day yet trying to  engage in meaningless small talk before I could break through to more authentic interactions.

Words are life to me.  Accessing them I find inspiration to start fresh, encouragement to keep going, conflict to sharpen and shape.  But I was finding my days were often filled with dead air and I craved life to be breathed into that stale environs.  Yet when my tasks were completed and my obligations were fulfilled, I often was simply too tired to make the effort with real, live people.  Often, I found it was just easier to switch on the computer to short circuit to the vital pulse of conversations going on in my favorite blogs to immediately access the already established rhythm of thoughts and feelings found in its pages.  Social media allowed me to jump right into a conversation, one already started on that blog, on Facebook or Twitter, savoring the fruits of a feast of human interaction without having to engage in the laborious, sometimes dreary work of plowing the fields with small talk and then gingerly navigating the delicate plants of decorum.

For this reason and others,  blogs and social media soon became an important place of engagement in my life.  These voices speaking to me across space and time, meeting me in my isolation like a friend with a cup of coffee, whispering words to engage my mind, touch my heart or lift my spirits.  Or on occasion, through my imagination, breaking me out of the confines of those seemingly hermetically sealed four walls into a more vital place; one filled with personalities and ideas to inspire.

Perhaps biggest of all, writing and sharing my thoughts across the blogosphere, meeting head-to-head and heart-to-heart in a virtual space, made me realize that I am a writer.  It is at the core of who I am, how I express myself best and perhaps the best way to truly know me.  I started writing poetry when I first could put pencil to paper and write words.  I recently dug up a poem I wrote when I was 6 and at 7 I wrote a poem that was published in an anthology of children’s poetry.  For several years I did a lot of writing.  And then something happened that absolutely shattered me and I spent the good part of my teenage years feeling like I was just struggling to survive, let alone thrive. Somehow creative writing felt like  a luxury I shouldn’t afford myself.  But blogging has made me realize I got it all wrong.  Writing, being in that place I feel the most myself, is something I need to do to keep moving forward in my life.

P.S. I just finished this post and then saw this quote, “The creative adult is the child who has survived.” Ursula Leguin  

I think it is perhaps Providential to just have stumbled across that, don’t you?  😉

Where and when do you feel most known? Most understood? Most like the person you were created to be?


8 thoughts on “Strangers on the Net: Exchanging Stanzas

  1. I love this: “savoring the fruits of a feast of human interaction without having to engage in the laborious, sometimes dreary work of plowing the fields with small talk and then gingerly navigating the delicate plants of decorum.” I can completely relate. Although I am an extravert at heart, sometimes I find many conversations in the “real world” superficial. It is amazing how much more depth we find when we stop being distracted by “pretty things” and dive in to honesty and transparency.

    • Yes, it ha been such a blessing to be able to be REAL with people. Becoming a mother was a surprisingly difficult adjustment to make. I spent a lot of time in the first year or so feeling sort of like a half-baked loaf of dough– kind of unformed and not quite presentable in my new identity as a mom. It wasn’t exactly something I wanted to wrap up in a basket and bring to the neighborhood meet-up. But blogging helped me worry less as I realized I wasn’t alone–as you said in your blog post today, insanity is the new normal!

  2. “Where and when do you feel most known? Most understood? Most like the person you were created to be?” …. In the water. No joke. I think I was born to be a mermaid. I haven’t found that place on land where I’m truly, freely me.

    • Synchronized swimming! I think there must be a Master’s team somewhere. 🙂 But I did hear something that made me think lately about the difference between belonging and fitting in. A place where we belong is somewhere we can be loved and accepted exactly for who we are without having to change anything in order to build a sense of connectedness with people. Fitting in usually means that we have to change something about ourselves in order to feel we can connect with people. I’m still working on all of this, too. I blog under a pen name because I still struggle with feeling like I can be exactly, honestly and authentically, who I am with the people that are in my real life. What I’m starting to realize is that if I can learn to accept *myself* fully for who I am, than perhaps I have a better chance of feeling like others will do the same. I wondering if belonging isn’t necessary something we find, it’s something we create. Maybe a blog topic for a later date! 😉

  3. Your writing is blessedly authentic! Thanks for sharing. Hmmmm, blogging under a pen name – I wish I’d thought of that!! Wonderful to have found you through this bloghop!

    • Thank you! Actually, I’m trying to determine if I can stay just as authentic if I give up my pen name. It would be nice to be able to be the “real” me both here and in the non-virtual world. I’d like to “come out.”

  4. “Words are life to me.”

    Lovely heart. Just lovely. The power of life and death is in the tongue. I don’t believe that changes when the words are put on paper either. As writers we have a voice that can either encourage and lift others up or drag them down. In turn it does the same for us as it does for them the minute we write those words. And as Christian writers … Believers who write … We have even more power.
    In my humble opinion – you should write as your own name. You will be free to be who God created YOU to be. You will be blessed even more. There is NO one like YOU!

    Whom the Son sets free is free INDEED.
    Blessings to you my new blogging friend.

    • It’s funny you mention that proverb about the tongue. That is the one I had running through my mind as well. I originally wrote this post as a longer piece and went into greater depth about the Word and our words, etc. Maybe I’ll have to put that out there as its own post sometime.

      Thank you for the encouragement to write as myself. I’m leaning in that direction, but I also love writing about things that are intimate to me and my family without worrying about invasions of privacy. Sigh. It’s a tough one!

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