What I Learned From Glen Campbell

There are times as a writer that I surely think “who cares?”

Who cares if I write?

Do I care if I write?

Why AM I writing?

Is it necessary for my words to be out in a world so filled with words?

For nearly 4 1/2 years, I’ve been steadily at work on a memoir. I’ve been cheered on by so many people, chiefly my writing coach and dear friend Jane Staw, who gently steers me back on track when I wander – either on the page or in my life – and a group of three amazing writers and friends who I’m blessed to have as my writing group. I’ve also had the absolute joy of studying (twice) with author Abigail Thomas, who called me a “wonderful writer” when I so needed to hear those words from someone who didn’t know and love me.

Earlier this month, I emailed Jane. I told her I needed to take a month-long break from my manuscript. Being the good coach (and friend) that she is, she tried to talk me out of it. But I knew in my heart I needed some time away – and I’m glad I took it. In just the two weeks I’ve been away from it, I realized I do care about this book. I see its value. I don’t need another two weeks away. I’m ready to get back to it.

Last night I watched and cried through the documentary, “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.” When I was a kid living in the country outside of Low Moor, Iowa, I loved Glen Campbell. But when I moved to the big city of Cedar Rapids in the third grade, my new best friend Janis taught me the ways of “cool” and listening to Glen was not on that list.

Until last night, I had forgotten about Glen, had forgotten that I once loved his music. I had such a mix of emotions watching his journey through Alzheimer’s Disease, but mostly I felt so very grateful that he and his family decided to share his (their) story. It’s a gift to his fans, for sure, and to those who are dealing with the devastation of this disease, but it’s also a gift to humankind.

And in that gift I see the gift of sharing my story. The value of being on the planet together is that we get to learn from one another. It’s my hope that someone, somewhere will find something in my story that helps them.

While I care about telling that story, what I don’t care about any longer is blogging about my weight-loss journey, so I’m hanging that up. Thank you to those who have cheered me on. The good news is I feel so much better, just down 5 pounds, then I did a month ago.

This morning I talked with my son, Keegan. He’s living in South Korea where he teaches English and does street photography. Just recently he added writing to the mix. Even if I weren’t his mama, I’d be reading.

Back in our home state of Iowa, my daughter/his sister Jess is rekindling her art – abstract paintings that leave me in awe.

Like their lives, my young people’s art is very different, but what they both bring to the canvas and to the page is a willingness to be vulnerable, to be authentic, to share what only they can share with the world.

I learn from them; they learn from me.

What a gift.

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What I Learned From Glen Campbell What I Learned From Glen Campbell What I Learned From Glen Campbell
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