Writer as a facet of identity

I am a writer who elevates jargon into plain language. This is one facet of an identity that can be imagined as a geode. Imagine a stone that has been broken open to reveal aquamarine crystals – flat, complex, light-reflecting, light-bending, light-enhancing surfaces.

Let’s think of identity as a geode with many facets. Like the multi-faceted geode interior, my identity is a combination of skills, heart, curiosity, work ethic, enjoyment of learning, and enjoyment of language.  The same set of facet-like attributes, expressed and combined differently, exposed differently to light, might produce an identity of teacher, painter, pianist, gardener, or others.

Sometimes the light shines through a “writer” facet of the geode. The crystal facets once reflected light into the information systems world. Then I entered into a more important world – the world of real people who are vulnerable because of age or other attributes – extremely young age (beginning with the “light switch” change of venues when our son was born two decades ago), or more advanced ages, experienced through the rediscovered interdependence among the generations in my family during the past decade.

The light has shined simultaneously through the “writer” facet of the geode, and “leader” facet of the geode, in groups oriented around the systems world, diverse community projects, parenting, community organizations, and family transitions.

Thirty years ago the light dimmed a bit through the “writer” facet of the geode when I was laid off from a job I did well. I saw that professional writers and educators were among “the first” to lose their jobs in a recession. So I began polishing an “expert” facet of the geode. I came to value the “expert” facet of the geode more than the “writer” facet of the geode. I adopted the measuring tools of “the marketplace” to value different facets of the geode. I became very comfortable as a well- informed practitioner in the world of systems planning and database design. I never wrote a line of software code to make my living; I wrote and spoke everything except the code – repeatable methods for system development, plans, materials, requirements, specifications, and more. The light shining through the communication facet of the geode pointed toward and brightened the expertise facet of the geode, rather than shining independently into the world. I kind of forgot that I had my own measuring system to value and polish the “writer” facet of the geode. I forgot that I might move the geode around a bit to see what happened when the light shone through different facets of the geode of my identity, more or less.

Recent encounters and engagements, and the response to them, have reminded me that a unique facet of my identity is…. a writer who can elevate any jargon into plain language, right now on subjects that affect the quality of life of vulnerable people. Our complex world has expanding needs for that identity. I feel as though the recent engagements have invited me to see the geode as positioned in three dimensions, gyroscope-like, so that the light can reflect more or less on and through different facets at different times.

And I discover, to my surprise, that life is enlightened, life-giving and energized when I claim that reality.

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About Good Listener

My name is Liz, and I am a writer. I am a member of "the sandwich generation," looking out for the interests of my "greatest generation" parents and friends, my "boomer" husband and self, and our "millennial" son, plus many community members that our lives touch. I am developing a writing practice so that I can become an effective publisher of blogs and books that are percolating inside me. I write as "Good Listener" on this community blog space - Tuesdays with Deborah - to remind myself that wisdom develops when I listen more than I talk. On this community space, I write on a wide variety of topics in order to discover and develop and practice voice and WordPress skills.

4 thoughts on “Writer as a facet of identity

  1. Brilliant. Crystalline. Educational. And a mirror in which I’m not pleased with my reflection.

    Once I chose a different path, tho I wasn’t conscious of “choice” in those younger days. I allowed myself to be limited by certain disabilities, some of which I hid and hid in shame & bafflement, such as a severe math dyslexia, while ignoring my own hearing impairment, among some of them. I focused almost exclusively on polishing the writer’s side of the crystal, the facet favoring the artist. Instead of learning more of business & marketing or going deeper into academia, I did what a good friend in my MFA in Creative Writing warned me not to do.

    As a Vietnam Vet he saw something similar occurring, and so he warned me “not to disappear into the Wilderness.” But I did. For decades.

    In many ways it was a rich, fertile time of experiencing life full-tilt as I dove into adventures, travels, fascinating places, & met even more fascinating people. All magickal elements to write about and from. In the process, however, I lost myself in the search for self. I disappeared.

    So, Good Listener, I applaud your success in your Path. Now is your time for Integration and Ignition.

    “Plain language” is an oxymoron for you. You distill essence from words so your meaning is visible, clear, & coherent. Creating gold jewelry from ore is hard work demanding skill, patience, & discipline. You’re on your way, as Dr Seuss used to say.

    What a joy to behold. You inspire me.

    William

  2. Good Listener.

    The metaphor of the geode is compelling. When I first moved to Seattle and lived in the SODO District and walked through Pioneer Square to get to work at the Advertising Agency I was part of, I often passed a store that sold gems and stones and had a wheelbarrow of geodes (not yet cracked) for sale. $10 for small. $20 for large. The owners of the store loved hunting for rocks and they promised each would hold a geode of some kind be it smokey quartz or rose quartz or some other divine semi-precious gem.

    I was so new in town. I wanted to crack wide open my new living situation. I picked an egglike geode from the pile. It had then a heavy chain wrapped about it and the chain was tightened till the stone egg “cracked” completely.

    Smokey quartz lined the inside of this stone egg.

    Facets that were brought to life by light dancing upon them. Tilt it left or right or position it a particular way to catch a rainbow.

    We may take our collective talents and can make a kaleidoscope of color or we can filter for color individually. It’s all in the angle as I recall.

    Writer as a facet of identity. Leader as a facet. Teacher as a facet. Witness as a facet. The possibilities are numerous aren’t they.

    To suggest another metaphor, how will you now braid them together to create a rope that is sturdy and supportive of the climb you now make?

  3. Deborah’s offering of a braided rope metaphor has such a natural connection to William’s word… integration. And I feel at home. See you on Tuesday, March 27.

  4. Pingback: Tuesdays with Deborah Writers' Conference

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