Sunday, May 11, 2014

Just go get some tissues now, OK?

Sometimes people tell me my column made them cry. A lot, actually. They tell me that a lot. And I usually say, "I swear I was not trying to make you cry. I really wasn't."

And I really wasn't. I have a simple creative process (because I am a simple creative creature). The process of writing my column always starts with a small, striking, everyday moment that flashes unusually bright. Little lightning.

It can be jarring when it happens. So I have to stop and turn it over in my mind for a while -- kind of mentally explore its edges until I begin to see that sublimely ordinary moment in the context of some larger theme. And it's usually a theme most people can relate to in some way because we're all a whole lot more alike than we are different.

Then I write it all down a couple of different ways until I find the one I like best. And then, apparently, people read that and get all boohoo weepy-face.


Most of the time, I could not begin to tell you why some of my columns have that effect on people. But sometimes I write about things that even make me cry, and then people say, "Your column made me cry," and I say, "Me, too, friend. Me, too."

Fair warning: This is one of those.