Write Intentions

I was cleaning up the basement the other day, moving some of my books and university papers from decaying cardboard boxes into clear plastic bins.

As I re-arranged and transferred some really lovely old books, mostly of the Celtic history genre, I came across a book my mother had given me on July 2, 1993, the summer I had graduated from high school. The gold lettering on the dark green cover reads Irish Literature – Poetical Works, S. Lover. The Selected Writings of Samuel Lover.

Samuel who?

Recalling next to nothing about this writer, I Googled Mr. Lover (now that I can, now that there is something to Google…I think that in 1993 there maybe was not) and found that he was an Anglo-Irish songwriter, poet and novelist and a contemporary of Charles Dickens.

I leafed through the pages, read a few poems.

Inside the cover, I found the card my mother had given me with the book. She had written “To the future of Canadian literature” across the top and then explained that she could not pass the book by as its lovely verse led her to think of me.

I stood there, in the dim back room of our basement, surrounded by a chaos composed of books and boxes and plastic bins, and I pondered the card and its message.

July 2, 1993 – twenty years ago. It seems like another lifetime and yet it seems like only yesterday. I can imagine sitting in my childhood room looking through the book. But although I often think I still feel like I’m about 18, the “me” I can see through the mists of time seems to have been an entirely separate person. Me but not me.

I had always dreamed of being a writer but I guess I didn’t realize that this hope was part of what defined me back then. Now that I have “grown up,” it seems that being a writer is something people (adults, that is) roll their eyes at, and think of as a nice lark but not really what people do full time. Unless they are J.K. Rowling or Paul Theroux or someone else in the elite 1% of people who can actually make a decent living at writing.

But it is nice to come across a message that suggests I was expected to contribute to  literature in some way.

I like that perception of who I was.

But what have I done for Canadian literature since then?

Well, apart from beginning a blog three months ago…nothing really.

Rather than making me feel sad about lost time, though, I feel energized and reassured. It is so good to have this message practically fall out of the sky into my hands, reminding me that I always meant to write.

Even on the difficult days, I know I am at least on the right path. I write daily. I may not actually contribute to literature, but at least I am writing. And I may not know where the path is going but at least I am on it.

As a dear friend pointed out before I started writing again, it’s better to realize at almost 40 that I want to write and should have been doing it for the past 20 years, than to kick myself at 60 for missing out on doing something I love for the past 40 years.

So, fellow writers, even if it’s an off day, or week, write something, anything. Keep it to yourself or share it with others but seize the day today, because you can.


The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it.

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



6 thoughts on “Write Intentions

  1. You really reeled me in with this post. I was completely there in the basement with you. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that we are about the same age and only recently I was in my own mothers basement moving some of my things from worn cardboard boxes to plastic bins. 🙂 I love what your mother have you and the sentiment she passed on to you. Is she still alive, your mom? Does she still believe in you?

    • I’m so glad you got something out of this one. I had mulled it over all day while cleaning and wasn’t sure if it would mean something to anyone other than me.
      Yes, my mom is alive and we are close, though she lives a 4 hour drive away. She’s always been very supportive, especially where my writing is concerned. She used to edit all my university essays!
      Thanks for asking 🙂

  2. Yes, I was there too, and your post made me thankful that after a long period of not writing anything, now I’m writing again and people are reading it this time. My mother, a local columnist, who I inherited my skills as a writer from, is reading it in a spiritual sense, and I hope she is smiling.

    • That is very touching. I’m sure she is. Writing, especially with people reading it, can really be very cathartic. It’s great to share struggles and happy thoughts in a creative way, and to get feedback.
      I’m had you enjoyed this post. Thank you.

  3. I like the part about at least being on the path. To me that means giving things a try, dabbling, seeing what becomes of it. I see lots of paths running side by side and intertwining and it’s nice to know I can hop from one to the other; have one foot on one, the other on another; or hit several different paths in one day. One of the many beauties of being alive!

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