Friday Speak Out!: The Writing World, Guest Post by Eliana Osborn

Friday, October 15, 2010
The Writing World

by Eliana Osborn

When my son was just two years old, my husband and I left the wee lad and flew 10,000 miles to Kenya. A visit to the in-laws never sounded so good.

One day, driving to Lake Nakuru to see rhinoceros galore, we stopped at a little roadside stall selling souvenirs and the ubiquitous Coca Cola. The wind was blowing a bit up at the higher elevation, nearly 9,000 feet. I stood at the edge of the road and just stared, overlooking the Great Rift Valley.

It sounds so cliché to talk about moments of clarity where the world becomes silent and it all comes together. I hesitate to even try to write about what I felt. I looked across this vast desert where human life began. I didn’t feel the insignificance you sense when looking at the heavens. I didn’t feel the shame I would feel later seeing plastic bags strewn across wildlife preserves. I didn’t want to share the scene with my husband or even take a picture.

I felt connected to humanity, alive and complete. It was spectacular. And fleeting. The others sauntered over to chat and show me the carved line of elephants they had haggled for, giving the expanse before me a cursory glance.

At its best, writing for me is like looking over the Great Rift Valley. I see my influences—every book I’ve read, every line of poetry I’ve repeated under my breath. I do not feel threatened by the greatness of others, instead empowered by language. I become a part of a grand literary tradition, however miniscule a part. There is silence all around despite the hustle and bustle of daily life. The beat of existence, of humanity itself, comes through.

So often writing is not transcendent. There are days of writing and deleting because it is all garbage. There is the functional text that gets a job done and nothing more. But often enough, there is a spark even in the right sentence of an article lede that speaks to the core of everything. Hope, love, beauty, truth. The basics of all cultures, all literature, all stories ever told. The things that tie my earliest hominid ancestors to my purse sized laptop. A few words, simply put together, quietly right.

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Eliana Osborn lives in Yuma, Arizona with her husband and two young sons. She has been published in Budget Travel, Conceive, Raising Arizona Kids, and others. She teaches English at Arizona Western College and spends all her time planning trips.

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!



debbie said...

What a great description of perfect moment. We have those insights too rarely and it is hard to defie them, but this author did a great job.

Lena said...

Loved this article!

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