A monthly column from The Writer’s Center

by Whitney Fishburn

You Are Not the Person Yelling at the Television

Take a moment right now. If you are in your home office, study, or library, or even just close to the place in your home where you keep your most favorite book, stop reading this for however long you need to glance at the spines of your most-thumbed books, the ones which when you see them, you remember who you truly are, what actually matters to you.

These are the talismans that remind you that you are not defined by how you rush through the next thing on your To Do list, nor by the fact that lately, you find yourself yelling at the television. Your bookshelf knows you as the person who revels in the cleverness and soaring soulfulness of the words of others, words that speak to the real you.

Perhaps the books on your shelf remind you that you are the person who looks out the window at the rising sun each morning, scribbling or tapping out words in peace as the great day star inches above the horizon. Perhaps your books remind you that you are better defined as the one who pauses during the day to listen to the crows argue across the roofs, or to thrill at the pair of red-tailed hawks winging by overhead.

Perhaps you are the one who takes your small dog for a walk and notices that there is trash in the brush where the cardinals like to perch, so you remove it and carry it home to toss in your kitchen rubbish bin.

Forgetting what grounds us in our truth is easy when we are barraged with the increasing noise of a sinister world. But taking a moment to remember our truth helps us find our voice, the one we need if we’re to talk back with sass when the devils come for us.

This fall, as you consider which classes to take at The Writer’s Center, don’t forget to also take a moment to remind yourself of whatever reminds you of you.


This essay is copyrighted by Whitney Fishburn. All rights reserved.

Whitney Fishburn is an award-winning journalist based in Chevy Chase, Md. You can find her at www.documental.substack.com