Friday, June 1, 2012

Silver Lining


For six years, I edited a monthly inflight magazine. As with many senior editorial positions, it involved little writing -- an occasional assignment that I'd take on but never really have the time to do the way I wanted to, or a short item that was easier to just write up than explain to another writer.

The one piece I wrote every issue -- all 72 of them -- was the letter from the editor. It was a place where I could frame that month's issue for readers; where I could write first person in a voice that gradually became my own. It wasn't award-winning (my column or voice); it wasn't experimental or innovative; but if you looked at the collection of letters -- particularly from the last couple of years -- you'd definitely say it had a common voice. We had a couple million people who read the magazine supposedly, but I never felt like I was writing to a large audience. I was just sort of thinking out loud about the issue and what it meant to me.

It was my first blog.

There are many reasons I decided to make the blog public. For one, I had come to the understanding that cancer may be part of who I am, but it doesn't define me. That was a gradual realization that came about through six months of discussion -- in essence, six months of practice talking about these types of things to friends and family, and through the blog. Before I flipped the public switch, I reread all the entries starting from Day One, my original post. As I did, I saw the tenor of the posts shifting -- going from what I'd call more of a diary to myself to where it is today, an opportunity to think out loud and frame an issue that's curling around my mind. 

I found my voice.

An optimist looks at the sky and sees the silver lining in every cloud; a pessimist sees the storm clouds on the horizon. Finding my writing voice is the lining of one of the clouds.