Friday Speak Out!: Why I Write

Friday, March 09, 2018
by Melanie Olsen

One morning last week I sat in the car with my high schooler and waited for the school bus. The stop is at the bottom of our street, he could easily walk, but it gives us a few minutes to sit and talk. When the bus pulled up I reached over and grabbed his hand, and I held on just a little longer than usual.

“Mom, the bus is here.”

“I know. I love you, have a good day.”

Please. Please know how much I love you. Please be strong. Please be safe.

I came back to the house, poured a cup of coffee, and sat down at my computer. I have work to do, bills to pay, but instead, I write.

I write to face the fear. To share it. To know that I am not alone.

I write because when I kiss the cheek of my pre-teen as I tuck her in at night, I close my eyes and still feel the soft round cheek of a toddler, and I say a prayer for the strong young lady she is becoming. These words are for her, so she hears my hopes and fears, and for me too, to always keep these moments close.

It’s what we do, those of us who are blessed, and sometimes haunted, by the words that hang in our mind until we cut them loose onto a page. For so many years I was too self-conscious to share my thoughts and stories. If the words were funny I felt silly, if they were sad, I felt vulnerable. But how does anything great ever happen if we never feel silly or vulnerable?

I write to never forget the feel of a soft flannel shirt against my face when I hugged my Dad.

We write to hold onto the memories, to never let go of the best times, and to never forget the hard times, because those times make up our stories too.

I write to cherish the feel of the sun on my back and dirt on my hands when I sit and plant flowers with my Mom, to look back on words of wisdom, and the certainty of knowing just where I came from.

All these pieces make our stories, and all these stories make us who we are. May we be blessed enough that when we share our words we create a laugh, a tear, or a thought to ponder. And may the only thing left forgotten be the self-consciousness that almost kept us from writing.

* * *
Melanie Olsen is a *mostly* humor writer. She is happiest when she’s with her family, writing, or travelling. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, son, daughter, dog, guinea pig, and bearded dragon; There’s never a shortage of comedy material and she can be can be followed at or on Facebook
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!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Melanie--What a wonderful post. A while back, I saw Mary Karr speak. She told us, in no uncertain terms, that we had to be honest with our writing. If it didn't matter to the writer, if it didn't make the writer laugh or cry or rant--we shouldn't be writing it. It'll be crap.

Your last paragraph said it all, and your last sentence was a whopper.

Several writers (Natalie Goldberg? Donald Graves?) wrote that writers live life twice. Sometimes, if we keep circling back to the same subjects, we live life three or four or five times... or more.

Good luck with your future writing endeavors... and enjoy your kids. Mine are all grown and now I'm enjoying my grandkid.

Diane Martin said...

What a wonderful, heartfelt post. Made me tear up on this Friday morning...and gave me courage to write those deep feelings I'm usually too scared to share. Thank you!

Angela Mackintosh said...

Beautiful post! I love the last line. :)

KAlan said...

And today, you write for an audience.

Margo Dill said...

I love this because sometimes, I think I forget why I write since I write to pay the bills. I try to use my personal blog to write for me, but then I run out of time. Thank you for the inspiration! :) As mommas, we sound like we have a lot in common but my daughter is 7. :)

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