Why I Write Sad

IMG_1663During our poetry unit, I tell my students that I always write about things that make me sad, because who wants to read a happy poem. It’s also much harder to write a good happy poem.

When I write, my mind goes to those dark places, places I don’t bring up in everyday conversations. My journals have always been a place of release, of refuge. They probably make me seem unhappy, but as — I hope — my friends can attest, I’m not an unhappy person.

Like most writers, I live in my head too much — always thinking about the past and the future. I’m not a good in-the-moment person; I never have been. I’ve always admired those types. My wedding day is still one of my favorite long moments because I was so utterly present, soaking in all the emotions. I wish I could be present like I was that day more often.

Actually, the older I get the less time I spend in my head. There’s no time to day dream. Most days, I’m going through the motions to get through it all: getting the kids dressed and fed, getting out the door by 8 a.m., driving to work in traffic, pulling through the Starbucks’ drive-thru for much-needed caffeine, dropping off the kids at daycare, teaching four classes (prepping, xeroxing, grading, dealing with all kinds of drama), picking up the kids, driving home in traffic, running errands, making dinner, eating dinner, putting AJ to bed, giving Noah a bath, reading Noah three books, putting Noah to bed…and now, it’s after 9 and I crash or read or write or watch TV.

There is no time to think. Most of my thinking occurs in the car, in between stories on NPR. As my journals will show, I spent much of twenties over-thinking. This seems to be the time of our lives when we have too much time to think. I wish I could go back in time and DO more, instead of thinking about the future. This seems absurd now.

Anyway, this post is just to say that I’m not an unhappy person — even though I have moments of unhappiness. I write sad. If you’re okay with reading sad, then maybe this blog will become a place of refuge for you.

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4 thoughts on “Why I Write Sad

  1. I like how you model the quality of being honest in your writing, Evelyn. Writing about sad is a great way to open the gateway to self reflection and our shadow side. I would need to balance that with a chaser of Ol’ Blue Bird of Happiness, though.

    • Thanks for reading, Steve. I love how you call it our “shadow side.” And, of course, there are moments of happiness that beg us to write, too!

  2. After an evening of reading tweets, I was pleased to run across your blog post about a slower-paced kind of writing. You are right; our days are hurry, hurry. I’m glad you sometimes find the time to write for you. I was moved by the line about presence on your wedding day. That’s exactly how I’ve described my own wedding day – nearly 30 years ago! I just remember trying to memorize everything about it.
    Thanks for reminding me we need to slow down once in a while.

    • Thanks, Lisa. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. This project/blog is for me — with all the other writing and teaching I do, it’s nice to have this space to turn to. Wedding days are like that, I guess! I’m going to check out your teaching blog now!

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