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FTIAT: The Power of Words to Reconnect A Life

Penny (Life Reconnected) began her blog to help cope with a convergence of losses, but it’s grown into something much greater. In addition to  documenting her many–and I do mean many!–external adventures, she’s enchantingly forthright about her internal adventures piecing together “a sense of place, purpose, balance and love in this world.” Her blog enhances my own sense of connectedness to this world.

Recommended post: A Month in the Country of Blogging Land

The Power Of Words To Reconnect A Life

‘I’ve Been Blogging Since You Left Me’ was one of the original title possibilities for my blog. Along with ‘Dumped at Fifty‘, ‘On The Scrapheap’ and ‘Better Out Than In’. As I moved through trying to amuse myself to getting to the essence of what I needed to express ‘A Design For Life’ and ‘House, Job, Life’ finally became Life Reconnected. That was one year ago.

Then, I was sitting in a house that I hated. Strong words but it felt like I had a life that I hated then too, one that I couldn’t control, recognize or find any purpose to. I was disconnected. So I began my blog.

It became my lifeline, literally a line to connect my life to something, anything, that felt meaningful. It has all been said before about how writing is cathartic, a way to find meaning and how blogging is the modern way to put that writing out there but like most things until you actually do it you don’t feel all of the power. I had been diary writing for years in that cathartic way but the power of blogging has come to me in ways different to what I imagined.

In her book A Brief History of Diaries, Alexandra Johnson traces the history of writing for and about one’s self through centuries of writing and she notes that some of the most widely read diaries, many still bestsellers, are written by women. Centuries of literary prohibition and inhibition she says, had driven women to diary keeping:

“Safe yet secret. The finest diaries expose the raw nerve of creative ambition. For writers like Mansfield and Woolf, by being able to practise craft, a diary became a first draft of confidence……..At their core, Burney’s (Fanny) diaries involve the deep permission to begin and sustain creative work

I am just recently back from Amsterdam and I visited the home where Anne Frank wrote what was to become the most widely read diary in history. I had my moments there. That time when the feelings and emotion well up and you embody the connection. Just the day before a friend had told me the most moving part of her visit to the house was hearing Otto Frank, Anne’s father, saying how he had realized on reading her diary that as a parent we never really know our children. So true and my response had been, well, do we ever really know anyone?

I came away from the house with a poster of the chestnut tree that Anne had been able to see out of a window. The attic space had been the most significant part of the building for me; I could just imagine how being able to see the sky and have some connection with the bigger world was so important for her. To be able to see through a gap of any sort sustains hope.

Traveling back from Amsterdam I was sitting in Schipol airport lounge with a friend and I was commenting on the fact that my blog had had two views that day! We were having a conversation around me starting my business and how I had felt such a disconnect with where I lived and how I hadn’t really told anyone I knew about me blogging and having no ‘local’ readers. “But how would you know?” she asked. How indeed.

Sometimes we don’t appreciate how powerful our words can be and how far out the ripples can radiate. In her second day’s entry Anne wrote ‘Writing in a diary is really a strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old school girl.’

As I sit today in the front room of that same house I hated a year ago, I look out at the gorgeous view of two magnificent Birch trees framing a small slice of a longer view to the mountains surrounding Belfast. The newly sprung leaves are dancing magically in the wind. Looking more closely in my frame of view I embrace the newly painted walls, the bobbing blackbird reflected in the shiny mirror, my rapture at the patterns my magnificent light shade make on the ceiling above. I appreciate it all. My lovely house swept white, clean and modern. My life swept white, begun again, healed.

I have effectively swept clean my life. A new and lighter life with small details that bring appreciation, grace, shape and form to enjoy. Each day to admire, to take pleasure from as I begin to use my art, my journey and my expression of it here in my blog to form both a business and a basis for my new life.

I could just as easily called my blog ‘The Power Of Words to Reconnect A Life’. It has given me a deep permission to begin and sustain creative work. This little house, this little blog. This little life. Reconnected.

I give thanks to all who share and express some of what and who we are.

last : Gratitude for Small Things | For this I am thankful : next

  1. June 8, 2012 at 6:11 am

    While I love the title of “I’ve been blogging since you left me” and am naturally drawn to it it would have been limiting for sure. For some reason I had never really made the connection of blogging as being an online diary. Perhaps because there is still so much left unsaid, but perhaps even in a diary there would still be feelings left unwritten. It has been a long time since I have read Anne Frank’s Diary, but maybe I should pick it up again.

    • June 8, 2012 at 6:46 am

      Hi Marta, yes I never really made the connection either if truth be told and yet it is the connection for me that holds the power. I agree that in diaries there are still things unwritten. Probably just as well I didn’t go with ‘I’ve been blogging since…!

  2. June 8, 2012 at 9:34 am

    I loved all the titles and then was hit between the eyes with the Virginia Woolf quote. Given the strange direction I have taken recently, I will say to both of you I am thankful for entries like this (1) because it gives me the opportunity to find new places to visit; (2) because it reminds me to be thankful.

    Thank you – Val

    • June 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Val! I too need to be reminded and what a fantastic opportunity Deb has given so many of us. I’m glad you enjoyed this.

  3. June 8, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Penny – thank you for sharing this wonderful post. I also like the “I’ve been blogging since you left me” – sassy, spontaneous and in your face! As for the substance of your blog, I only recently started a blog and found this post inspiring. I am still trying to find my voice as a blogger, so it will be a journey for me, but it certainly is wonderful that there are such amazing bloggers out there! The homage to Anne Frank was so touching, I just wanted to thank you again for sharing and allowing us readers to share in your gratitude.

    • June 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      You are very welcome and I hope you enjoy your own journey as a blogger to find your voice.

  4. June 8, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    “Sometimes we don’t appreciate how powerful our words can be and how far out the ripples can radiate.”

    Yes. And I’m sure this is why I stay up until 2 AM trying to find time to work on my fiction WIP. Wonderful piece. I’m glad you’ve moved from hate to love. That along is fantastic. And magical. Nice to meet you!

    • June 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm

      Nice to meet you too Renée! And thank you for your compliments – I feel a little out of my comfort zone being among such great writers here. Im also having some tech problems as my avatar seems to have disappeared 🙂

  5. June 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Oh, I love Penny’s blog. And, Penny, what a great post. How wonderful to hear from you today! Happy weekend to you, my friend.

    • June 9, 2012 at 12:57 am

      Thanks Kathy, I so loved your post in this series too. Have a lovely weekend yourself x

  6. June 10, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    Hi Penny. I’m thrilled to see you here. This post is particularly poignant for me though I cannot put my finger on exactly why that is. I’m having one of those days where I don’t know who I am or where I’m going. Even reading about your “painted-clean house” made me cry. Maybe I’ll soon get to the bottom of this abyss and start climbing back up again. That will make a good post, won’t it?

    Thanks, Deb, for featuring one of my favorite bloggers.

    • June 14, 2012 at 12:55 am

      Hi Pat and thank you for commenting here. I am sorry to hear you are having one of those days. If it’s any help one of the things you are is a very intelligent writer. I know this because I have been inspired by your blog for a long time. I hope you don’t spend too long down there but while you are there I know you will rake it for the goldmine of insight you always find and share. It will be a great post.

  7. June 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Oh, wow, I really connected with this post! I, too, began blogging a little over a year ago as a way to chronicle the challenges in my life that just seemed to be insurmountable at times….Through this journaling process I slowly began to realize that I wasn’t terminally unique. It has been and still is so healing…and my reader base…well, they certainly aren’t who I expected them to be when reaching out to single moms. I have a myriad of folks, married, unmarried, men, women, kids, no kids, working moms, sahm’s. All of whom’s perspectives through their own blogs and comments on mine have opened up my life view tremendously. I can’t wait to check out your digs, now, too! Thank you so much for sharing-oh, and I loved reading Anne Frank’s diary, too. 🙂 XOXO-SWM

    • June 14, 2012 at 12:58 am

      ‘terminally unique’ I love it! It really does open up your life view doesn’t it and reminds us that we just have to reach out to feel a connection. Thank you for commenting (and connecting):)

  8. June 12, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    TY for echoing some of what I’ve been feeling of late… It is so important to go back and reconnect with that place inside and to be reminded that what we do matters. Who we are matters… even if to just one other person. TY!

    • June 14, 2012 at 1:00 am

      I so agree! Thank you for commenting and expressing Exactly how I feel 🙂

  1. June 9, 2012 at 1:01 am
  2. June 22, 2012 at 5:31 am

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