We’re Back, Bitches!
Brandi is part of Jena Schwartz‘s Inky Path writing group. After a shoutout on their Facebook group (thanks for that!), Brandi got in touch with me. We had an impromptu email chat that, frankly, made my day, and she sent me this post to share with all of you. Rock it, Brandi!
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Like a lot of writers, I think, I have been an avid reader from a young age and learned early on the power of the written word. Actually putting words to paper took me a little longer though, as I didn’t start writing until I was in my early teens as a way to cope with all the bigness and awfulness of teendom which was made a million times worse by the suicide of a close friend. Suddenly my emotions felt so much bigger than my body, pushing against my skin from the inside, threatening to burst if I didn’t find a release valve.
So I wrote. Crappy poetry, mostly, but with writing came a sense of bigness that wasn’t about being overwhelmed, it was about being connected to myself and to something that wasn’t me at the same time. Not to mention, getting the thoughts in my head out on to the page was a way to process the grief of losing a friend though I don’t know if I could have articulated it at the time. I just knew that life wasn’t so hard when I wrote.
But, you know, life moves on and I put the pen down and focused on boys and college and all the distractions of life. Sadly, even when I was writing regularly, I never considered myself a ‘real’ writer because REAL writers were other people, not messed up, geeky kids from the backwoods of Oklahoma. I treated the writing thing as a phase, a way to get through something hard, not something innate or important to my heart and soul. It doesn’t surprise me now, looking back, that the times when I’ve not allowed myself a creative outlet have been the darkest times in my life and that period of my early 20’s was probably the darkest.
My writing continued to ebb and flow over the years as I grew and matured, tried different forms of creativity, forgot about creativity, got married, got dogs and settled into grownup-hood.
Then a few years ago I discovered trail running and quickly found that I am most alive when I am covered in dirt and salt and sweat. Suddenly, I found myself wanting to write again, wanting to share with the world this wonderful thing I’d found. I started a blog and wrote what I saw other runners writing about, race reports and reviews and narratives about my training. It was nice to share these things but I still felt something was missing.
An injury to my knee kept me from running a big race and what’s the point of blogging about running when you can’t run? You can only say ‘I hate being injured’ so many times before even you get bored of hearing it so the blogging stopped. In fact, everything stopped as I healed and nursed my shattered dreams and bruised ego (oh and the knee also, but let’s be honest, the ego hurt worse).
Oh that universe, it works in mysterious ways. I found myself filling my sudden glut of free time with writing. Nothing I shared with anyone, just poems and diary entries and the silly thoughts that wound through my brain. I found myself looking forward to the creative time every day, like I was 14 and discovering poetry all over again. I mentioned to a friend that I was writing again and she raved about this writing group she was in lead by Jena Schwartz (now called the Inky Path for those that might be interested).
I’m convinced that group is pure magic as connecting with and being seen by the other writers in it solidified something in me. I never thought I could be a dirtbag trail runner and a writer of poetry or philosophy-what I call the poetry of dirt. I never thought I could marry the spirituality I found in the woods and the spirituality I found on the page. But seeing all the unique and authentic writers in the group and getting amazing feedback from them helped open my eyes to my reality: the woods are where God is and God is what inspires my creativity. They are all connected. They are all the same.
My husband asked me once why I thought I loved trail running so much and I replied, ‘I don’t know, it’s just where my soul lives.’
And writing is how my soul breathes.
That’s why I write what I write.
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About Brandi Reynolds
Brandi Reynolds is part dirtbag trail runner, part poet, part animal/envinronmental advocate and entirely addicted to Dr. Pepper. She can be found at www.anywhere-thats-wild or on instagram @brandirunswild.
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Can’t wait to hear from you!