What Words Did You Leave Unsaid In 2008?

Where, in the shuffle of days and months, does a writer find their year? Do they find it in the stacks of pages they create? Or do they find it between the words left unsaid?

Yeah, I know… The hand-on-chin thing is pretentious, but so is running a site almost exclusively dedicated to my own ramblings, so what the hell. πŸ˜‰

It’s so easy to look back on the year and see only failures. See only the things you didn’t do or say… In many ways, it feels like 2008 was a rough draft, and my history with rough drafts is not so swell. If the past is any guide, I’ll hide this year in a drawer. Perhaps I’ll take it out once in awhile and wave it around as proof that I once lived.

But what a dreary and useless thought that is!

I began the year with a simple goal: I would stop hiding my work. By any measure, I achieved this. I moved forward:

I tried and failed to get into Clarion West.
I tried and finished NaNoWriMo.
I wrote poems for James and Dave.
I stopped hiding and became myself.
I discovered that even when I knew what I was doing, I could still damage myself in a profound way.
I wrote a series of posts about places where I almost started a life of writing.
I gave up my studio.
I wrote about being funny.
I wrote about the love I feel for my children.
I finished a story for my kids.
I waffled between finding my voice and creating one.
I learned to forgive myself for failing.

I chronicled so much of my personal and artistic life this year, it hardly seems that I could have left anything unsaid. Yet, there are many, many things I failed to say either because I did not devote the time or did not have the courage:

I haven’t written the words of release, dedicated to my mother.
I haven’t written the words of forgiveness, dedicated to my father.
I haven’t written the words of apology, dedicated to my sister.
I haven’t written the words of gratitude, dedicated to my friends.
I haven’t written the words of wisdom, dedicated to my children.
I haven’t written the words of love, dedicated to my wife.
I haven’t written the words of hope, dedicated to myself.

If 2008 is a rough draft, it’s because I’ve only touched upon the words that need to be said. There’s so much yet to do.

Thank you for being readers of How Not to Write. I look forward to sharing with you next year. πŸ™‚

10 thoughts on “What Words Did You Leave Unsaid In 2008?

  1. I like your opening thoughts. It reminded me of John Mayer’s song Say from the movie “The Bucket List.”

    I think as writers we’re more aware of what we haven’t written because we are writing all the time and the act of writing by its nature calls up more things to write as well as what we haven’t written.

    I’m glad I clicked that link on Melissa’s comment page so many months ago; I’ve enjoyed following your blog and your writing journey.

    Apologies in advance if I goof coding the link to the youtube video of the song.

  2. Happy New Year, Jamie. Your generosity and humanity come through in your blog and in your actions. “Failure” teaches better than success, which makes it a kind of success, which makes the original statement sort of nonsensical, but I hope you know what I mean to say. In any case, a full life has lots of both failure and success, until we give up measuring that way and just let the list speak for itself, as you have done. Thanks for your blog and your great, good spirit!

    Elizabeth Stark´s last blog post..Growth Mindset and Writing: A Celebration of Risk and Failure

  3. Thanks Jamie. Your sharing has started the year in a gentle, introspective way. (And I hope you enjoyed that first sunrise of 2009..)
    All the best to you.

  4. I love all the positivity in this post! I was thinking about one aspect of my past year when I’d said I was going to do one writing submission per month for the year of ’08. I didn’t make that goal. I fell far short of it. However, the difference from previous years is that I actually DID send stuff out this year. In addition, in trying to get other things sent out, I got several stories finished, stories that never would have been written otherwise.

    Elizabeth says that failure teaches better than success. Maybe there really isn’t failure if you learn from it.

    It’s a good thing you didn’t do EVERYTHING on your list in 2008. Otherwise, you’d be done and have nothing to do the rest of 2009. It might get a touch borning, eh?

    Tom´s last blog post..Words, Wonderful Words!

  5. @Deb Thanks for sharing that song. I’m glad you clicked that link too. πŸ™‚

    @Elizabeth I do know what you mean, and frankly since failure’s all I’ve got I’m sticking with it. LOL! Seriously though, the things I’ve failed to accomplish have taught me so much more than successes. Both are important though. You can’t go through life always under a cloud, which seems to be an easy state for writers to slip into.

    @Amy All the best to you as well! Thanks!

    @RhodesTer No monkeys or bagels? What could I possibly write about? πŸ™‚

  6. @Tom That’s true. I had to leave a few things on the list for 2009! By the way, congratulations for sending things out! You may not have met the goal you set but sending out something is better than nothing, and now you have something to shoot for in 2009 as well. πŸ˜‰

  7. Aw Jamie, this post hit me right “there.” I of course have tears in my eyes because apparently one side effect of approaching 45 is you get all weepy over everything. πŸ™‚ Your words are so beautiful and so you. I watched you in 2008 emerge from behind the mask literally and figuratively. You may not have said the exact words but my dear Jamie they were said. You said them in the way you lived and in the way you wrote. If 2008 was a rough draft this year will be a prize winning manuscript.

    Karen Swim´s last blog post..At the Intersection of Been There and Looking Ahead

  8. @Karen Thanks so much. You just reminded me of another bunch of words that went unsaid in 2008… your ode! πŸ™‚

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