Becca Wilhite Blog

January 12, 2015

What They Say about Writing (and How They’re Probably Right)

Filed under: writing — becca @ 1:06 pm

Hey, writer people: If you want to write, you write, they say. Do it every day, they say. And you can’t want to write, they say, based on your craven need for external¬†validation. The writing, they say, has to be its own reward. I think this is true of every writing class I’ve ever given or taken. We beat this particular horse to a pulp. But still, we the writers want more and more and more. We want not only a publishing contract, but one with a marketing guarantee, a summer launch tour, endcaps in bookstores, and a promised Zillion Dollar Income. We want to hear our names on NPR and see our titles on the NYT Bestseller Lists. More and more and more.

I just wanted to come over today and tell you that I’m finally, fully there – in the place of writing for the sake of writing. For the joy of the words filling up the pages. For the internal validation that I can, in fact, do what I say I’m going to do. I’ve said out loud that it doesn’t matter if I never publish another thing. I’ve said it, but I’ve been lying. I cared a lot about publishing other things. And today, at least, I’ve come to realize that THEY are probably right. The writing I’ve been doing may not be great. It may not even be good. It may not ever lead to a complete, beautiful, funny, interesting story. But guys. It’s happening. It’s consistent. It’s Fun Again. And the fun is worthwhile, even if that’s all it ever is.

 

January 7, 2015

Crazy-Amazing

Filed under: gratitude,happiness,history,school,Where do I live? — becca @ 5:41 am

Some days you want to forget, you hear me? And then there are days like yesterday.

I never want to forget yesterday.

Because Amazing, is why.

So I got called down to the principal’s office, which is usually a good thing, but somehow it still has the power to make me a little nervous. (Full disclosure – is was the Assistant Principal of Academics and Whatnot, who is thirty-seven percent more intimidating than the main principal.) As we sat down, he told me he had good news. I happen to love good news, and said so. He told me that a businessman in town approached the administration with the desire and ability to support academic achievement at our high school. He told me a bit about this local businessman, about his reasons for generosity, about his work, about where he’d like his support to go. That he’d like me to be point-guy for the process.

My grin was genuine. It was all Very Good News Indeed. Remembering that I live in a very small town, I asked, “Do I know him? What is his name?”

When he told me the businessman’s name I pretty much said, “STOP.” Because it’s the same name as a very dear friend from college. And not a particularly common name. We identified that it was, in fact, the same friend. (One of my first thoughts was, “Hey, wait. I thought this ‘local businessman’ would be a grownup,” and then I remembered that I’m 41.) I laughed, probably loudly, when I said that he and I had been great friends in college, that we’d met early in our first year and had been very close. That I’d introduced him to my sister and they’d dated during a crucial time of his growing-up life.

Then I started two-minding. People say you can’t do this, but you can. You can give one of your minds – the whole, entire main one – to the conversation at hand while outlining thoughts to think about later with your “behind-mind.”

My main mind was engaged in a gratitude-and-wonder conversation with the administration. With discussion of ideas, vision, and plans.

My behind mind was making lists. Places I’d gone with this friend. (He was with me the first time I met Idaho, which you know [if you’ve met Idaho] is something you’d like to remember forever.) Late night conversations. So much laughing. Brick Oven pizzas (mine with cheese, his without). Football games. Studying. Playing. Walking. Me, doubting that his name was really his name. Him, doubting that¬†I really had a step-twin. So much talking. The night we spent in the hospital with our mutual friend who thankfully failed in his attempt to end his own life. Disasters large and small. Successes large and small. A dozen-dozen memories.

And now, after twenty years, he walked back into my world. Or I into his, or something. The worlds, they collided, is what I’m saying. And when, by chance, he showed up at school again in the afternoon, the principal brought him to my classroom. And I laughed and hugged him and was unsurprised that his startling blue eyes and sincere smile haven’t changed. I told him I was thrilled and excited to see him and to be able to work with him. I think I forgot to say what was huge in my heart – the Thank You part – but I’ll be sure to lead with that at our next meeting.

When you think of old friends, don’t you sometimes throw out a prayer that they’re well? That they’re good and happy and fine? One of those prayers was answered yesterday. And I’d like to remember it.

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