On days when the wind is right and the waves keep me afloat, their momentum carrying me forward into the unknown, I can sense a connection to the force of the sea and the energy of all the other swimmers in the water with me.
And on days when the wind blows against me–or there is no wind–and my arms and legs feel like lead weights, I may have to work a little harder to feel that connection, but it’s still there, even when I can’t always see or feel it. If I close my eyes for a moment between strokes and take in a deep breath, I can sense that link to the energy that sustains us all while we’re swimming and that links us to each other.
It’s amazing how the sight of other swimmers in the water–even if they’re swimming faster or further than me or just treading water–inspires me to do my own work.
I find myself swept along in the energy of the current, inspired, too, simply knowing that other swimmers have had the courage to leap into the water before me, and that still more swimmers will find the courage to dive into the water long after I’m gone.
Speed and distance, past and future, don’t matter.
What matters is that all of us–past, present and future swimmers–are immersed in the same body of water extending over centuries.
Chaucer, Shakespeare... Austen, Dickens, Chekov, Twain... Salinger, Sendak, White ... Patterson, Lowry, Woodson, Cisneros, Diaz ...
No matter the time period or genre, each writer sends out ripples through time and space to touch other writers whose names may never be known... and yet who themselves send out ripples with their own writing which end up touching other writers, giving them the energy and strength to keep on writing.
Together, we explore the depths of our hearts and souls for stories that we can bring back to shore to share with others.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve written 100 books or none, finished a short story or just started the first sentence of the first paragraph of a new project. The energy that you create when writing–even if you can’t see it–sends out ripples across the sea, and those ripples of energy support others engaged in the same endeavor.
When the wind is right and the surface of the water gleams with light, you can see the ripples returning across the sea to keep you afloat as you embark on your own adventure each day.
We are all in the water together, swimming in a vast sea of words, and the very act of swimming–writing every day, putting down words on paper–sends out more ripples.
All of us together, swimming.
PS - This post marks Wordswimmer's fourth anniversary. Thanks so much for joining us in the water and helping us stay afloat.