An Answering Spirit

December 16, 2011

Cedar by Emily Carr, 1942

Totem Forest by Emily Carr, 1930

When I travel, I like take along reading material that relates to my destination.  For my weekend trip to Vancouver, B. C., I packed The Complete Writings of Emily Carr, and from that 900-page volume, I read her journals, called “Hundreds and Thousands.”  It was a perfect choice.

Emily Carr was an accomplished artist and writer from British Columbia.  She is well-known for her paintings of Northwest woods and totem poles.  But she was also quite gifted at painting with words.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading her journals for her thoughts on making art, making money, solitude, loneliness, and for her vivid similes and metaphors.

I was taken by one passage where Carr defines the difference between keeping a journal and writing a letter:  “Here I am, little book, having neglected you for some time.  I have written to Lawren twice, so that does you out of your little spiel for I work it off on him instead of on you.  It’s all the same as long as you can get it off your chest, only it’s easier when there is flesh and blood at the other end and, more than that, an answering spirit.”

I think that having flesh and blood at the other end of my blog, and more than that, the occasional answering spirit (my readers’ comments), is what has motivated me to keep posting for almost three years now.  Last week I reached a milestone — my 1,000th post!  I’ve never kept a diary or a private journal for so long.

It’s always rewarding when a good writer articulates something that rings true for you.  I love the idea of an answering spirit.  I hope that you keep your comments coming.  I really do appreciate every one of them.