Never Be Average

Sunset_heaven_serenity_248986_lOne of the jobs of the writer, as I see it, is to be a chronicler of events and people.  We are here to tell the tale to others.  To witness and write about it, whether what we witness is something small or something big.

What I have to witness today is the passing of two friends.

The first was the father of one of my close friends.  He was a delight, a man who lived life on his own terms to the very end and expected the same of everyone else.  "Never be average," was his motto.  And he wasn't.  I stayed with him at his house at the beach a couple of times, helped him work on his autobiography a little bit, and enjoyed Broasted Chicken night and cheap drinks (he treated) at the local Eagles Aerie.

I adored him.  I didn't see him often, but I miss knowing he's here in this world, being his wonderful self.

The second was my childhood friend.  She'd been in ill health recently and I hadn't had the chance to see her in quite some time.  I kept up with her progress through reports from her daughter and sisters.  I'm pretty sure her passing was a release from pain for her, though that doesn't make it easier for those who are left behind.  The way I want to remember her can be summarized in one word: funny.  When she was feeling good, she was one of the funniest people on the planet.  We spent hours laughing together as teenagers.

And that is a damn good legacy to leave an old friend.

This business of chronicling: sometimes it doesn't seem like enough.  I read about people curing cancer and saving children in Africa and worry that being a writer pales in comparison.  Do you ever feel this way?

And yet, bearing witness is important. It's how we remember.  It is how we can galvanize.  It is part of what makes us human.

And so I put away my feelings that writing is not enough and just go do it once again.

Because when you're a writer, it's the most important thing you can do in the world.  And just that act alone insures one thing: that you will never be average.

 Photo by a_kartha.

0 thoughts on “Never Be Average”

  1. Karen Phillips

    I am sad for you losses, Charlotte. This is a hard time to lose friends. I’ll keep you the family of your friends in my thoughts and prayers. Much love, Karen

  2. I’m sad that you will no longer have the company of your friends. If I read this correctly, there are no loose ends: you had a relationship with them and it was established, finished in a sense. I have some things yet to do, ends I need to complete. And no, I can’t cure cancer. I can’t cook either and food is such an important part of life. We are all in this together, and when one of us triumphs, it is a victory for all. My best wishes for you.

  3. I’m very sorry to hear about your loss.

    I totally agree that the job of a writer is to ‘tell the tale to others.’ I think of it as our job to put feelings, events and understandings into words; to provide others with the opportunity to say, “That’s how I feel too!”

  4. Thanks, Roz.  I thought the same thing as I watched coverage of another tragedy last night–the mall shooting that was very near my home.  I'm so sorry for all the people affected, and as I watched it unfold I kept reaffirming that I'm one of the ones who remains and it's my job to simply commit myself, over and over again, to story.

  5. Losing someone that you love and care about is hard, damn hard, but it is something that we all have to face at some point, be it sooner or later. Writing, however, about our dearly parted is also important, damn important too because it helps to let those very same lives to live beyond the grave so that we and others may learn, appreciate and benefit from all the more.

    “Never be average” is something that I’ve always aspired to do, though often not successfully as I would have liked. That piece of wisdom would be forever lost had someone not taken the time to write it down. Yes, life is short, damn short, but witnessing through writing is something that not only extends the lives of our dearly departed, but also comforts and enriches our own lives at the same time.

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