Perhaps I was born to be a writer, since, so long ago, I developed a romance with story, one that has marked my life, and especially the past year, in dramatic ways. After all, reading opens us to the world, and in the past 12 months a move to Ecuador has offered me an international adventure like none other.
Still—whatever I was born to be, the fact remains that 52 years ago today, I was born, a premature, identical twin. My sister and I made our way into the world one month early and several pound shy of safe birth weights, and she died several days later, leaving me in an outback of twinlessness, where the low, flat noise of my own aloneness both deafened and disoriented me.
So, yes, on a much, much lighter note, today is my birthday.
And in honor of my surviving when doctors insisted I wouldn’t, my dear Sara, the woman I’ve loved for nearly 8 years and married in New York 11 months ago, created the following video about our first year in Ecuador. She does this sort of thing every year on my birthday. The visual to my verbal, the photographer to my writer, she takes over my blog in an effort to lesson my work load, offering images that supplement the many, many words I’ve shared.
We hope you enjoy this expat story, in particular. Maybe it will become a book one day.
The video may show me often with a camera in hand, but the past year and especially our first 11 months in Ecuador have reminded me who I am as both a global citizen and as an expat lover of texts. They have also helped me understand more deeply the way books and culture impact our understanding of the world and the role community plays in the life of a writer.
Words make meaning, and stories explain the world to us. Words tell us who we are and allow us to see ourselves in new and insightful ways, while stories, both visual and verbal, comfort and challenge us to be more, to be better, brighter, more thoughtful in our pursuit of kindness and more careful in our regard for others. I suppose Sara and I balance one another in this regard, the photographer and writer, undertaking creative projects together, this post being a case in point.
Still, writing itself participates in precisely this form of reciprocity and has allowed me, at least, to understand the past 5 decades and, in a narrower sense, our past year in Ecuador more clearly. Writing teaches me to embrace community in new and creative ways, while, at the same time, reading tutors me in the ways of a larger world and the growth possible through international living.
But this word smith loves a woman who takes tons of photos, so lets celebrate the birth of that collaboration, as well–our passion for travel, the cultural insights we share, and the redemptive potential inherent in both the verbal and visual.
Oops, I almost forgot. I paint, collage, and craft, as well. Maybe that marriage of word and image is inherent to who I am, after all.
Who do you think you were born to be? Is there a visual-verbal balance that plays out in your marriage? Why do you write?
This post is a response to the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: Writerly Reflections. To see more entries, click here.