In quite powerful ways, this blog is with me a good deal of the time. I think about it - and you (my blog friends) - when I am walking in the early mornings, when I am out and about listening to stories from friends or family, or in quiet times at home.
Lately I have observed that writing and reading are essential to how our lives interconnect. They are particularly part of the tentative, questing conversations that touch on or open up our deepest connections: the relationships, dreams, yearnings, desires, losses and sorrows that matter most.
That's why the quality of what we read matters. Reading can help us think about life more confidently. It lets us benefit from the experiences of people who are otherwise strangers.
It brings us together around issues that matter.
With that sense of conversation very much in mind, I observe, listen, watch, reflect - and then write. But if writing is the "talking" part of that dialogue, there is also "listening". Each of us will read and reflect in our own characteristic way.
As a avid reader myself, I know that reading lacks encounter, but it does give something else. At its best, it gives me the distilled rather than the superficial thoughts of the person who is writing.
Just as valuably, it gives me the chance to "listen" at my own pace, to question, reflect and add my own thoughts and inner commentary, engaging more actively not just with what someone else has said or written, but with what I myself now think, believe or want.
My 87 year old mother and my brother's dog Darcy, connecting on her birthday in March 2009