“Write Into Life — Rachel McAlpine on writing, blogging, and staying alive until we die”
I began this blog to document my personal “boot camp for the bonus years” in 2015. This eccentric boot camp triggered new ideas about life, blogging, and growing old, so I have carried on writing into life.
Last year I carried out a detailed survey of older bloggers and published the results in a series of blog posts. (The results amazed me and have triggered a new project.)
Now I write short articles about blogging, and very easy, friendly poems about ageing (because I’m 79 and it’s getting weird), and cute photographs that show what certain cats are thinking. At times I write about other things as well.
As a long-time professional writer, I care about the numerous ways that the act of writing brings health and joy and better thinking… not to the reader but to ourselves as writers. Writing has enriched my rather long life, and as a teacher and researcher I try to help others to access that same deep satisfaction and delight. Oh, and I do a lot of terrible drawings too.
Is about motherhood and what lies beyond. The slightly longer backstory is that motherhood, for me, opened up an entire new level of existence. I have been plagued by existential angst for most of my twenties and early thirties, and growing past that demanded I face some of my deepest fears. It required that I look both inside and outside, and as I shed my previous assumptions about reality I started to rebuild a new foundation.
Motherhood, with its raw honesty, ethereal love and deeper connection to life around me was not only the frightening initiator but also the anchor that led me through it. In an odd way, I wouldn’t want to be my existential struggle, since life today is infused with much more meaning. I find myself having honest discussions about the deeper meaning of it all with old as well as new friends that are living the motherhood experience with me, but – true to the nature of motherhood – we rarely have time to finish them properly. That’s what this blog does.
I was one of those children to convincingly state I’m going to be a writer, who wrote stories everywhere on everything, until real life silenced that voice and practical choices overshadowed it altogether. However, if there is anything that life has taught me, it’s that we gravitate towards our passions in one way or another. We move towards that which lights us up and fires our engines, and if we choose to live in the shadows, we slowly kill that which we call our spirit. Writing makes up a small part of my day job, which I love, but I have been itching to arrange and write my own thoughts in my own words for several years. Editing blogs and writing copy for work only made me more convinced that I need to start writing of my own pen, or I’ll channel all that creative energy into something far less productive.
In short, I write because I want to share the honest, raw experience of being a mother. I write to counteract all the selfies, the blissful-holiday-picture, the rosy new-baby-pictures flooding our social media feeds. I write because those pictures do not reflect the true experience, at least not for me. Motherhood is the most joyous of heights, an entirely different level of existence, but it is also bottomless fear; fear of when my own life will end, fear of losing my child, fear of failure. If it resonates with someone, somewhere, it’s enough to keep me going.
Brian was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on a cold January day in 1965.
Clearly, the odds were already against him.
But he persevered, slugging through this and that, and he quickly learned at a very young age that some people can achieve greatness with dedication and hard work, some people are destined to awe the world with their ineptness and lack of admirable qualities, and most people are quite happy to simply plod along in the middle, leading pleasant but mundane lives where they occasionally find a stash of misplaced quarters under a sofa cushion and everybody gets to go out for ice cream.
Brian was not impressed with any of these options. He looked up from his paperwork at the Life Goals Development Center, and studied the applicants around him. Everyone else was quickly selecting one of the three avenues, shoving their completed forms at one of the bored administrative people, and then rushing out the door, because “Charlie’s Angels” was on TV in a few minutes and you couldn’t really miss THAT.
In frustration, Brian turned over his application, intent on writing a scathing missive to Whoever Was In Charge that he really didn’t appreciate the skimpy menu of opportunities, and he noticed a fourth career path, hastily scribbled in by someone with vision: “Some people feel compelled to study the world and people around them, and then stay up all night writing down their thoughts on the matter.”
Brian smiled, checked the box, and added his signature with a flourish. And so it began.