• Kathleen Cassen Mickelson

Here’s to the Outsiders Among Us

Sometimes, the idea that I write stuff on a daily basis feels like so much fluff, like it’s something that really doesn’t make much difference to anyone but me. And I think maybe this is my midlife crisis in some way, the feeling that no one would really miss me if I disappeared online or otherwise, because I haven’t made much impact thus far.

And then something happens that reminds me we all make a difference in some way. This week on Facebook, a guy that hung around in creative writing class with me when I was in middle school about a million years ago found me and sent me a message. He was two years behind me in school, so when I was in ninth grade and he was in seventh grade, we both spent time writing poetry full of teenaged angst. Or something like that. Probably bad poetry, but that’s not really the point (and what kid in middle school writes good poetry, anyway?). The point is that this guy remembered me because I was nice to him.

Well, then. That’s something, isn’t it? We exchanged a few messages and he told me that he was one of those kids who hated school and never felt like he belonged. I’ve gone in and out of feeling like I belong anywhere all my life, which is part of what makes me write. A lot of artists and writers are in that mode, that outsider way of being in the world, and sometimes it truly sucks as we rail against every box other people try to put us in (parent, interfering mother, non-conforming suburbanite, liberal which somehow always gets coupled with bleeding heart, softie, idealist, unrealistic academic, idiot, heathen, too old to still wear Converse, insert your favorite here). But every once in a while someone reminds us that we are nice people. That we do touch others. 

And that might be enough to keep working through today.

When you question your art’s worth, what makes you keep going? What classifications do you rail against again and again? Chime in.

DO A KIND THING

Speaking of belonging, dogs need to belong somewhere, too. One of my friends just adopted a four-year-old lab/Newfie mix and she’s the sweetest dog ever. Hard to believe someone surrendered her. So, if you need some unconditional love in your life, check out the Animal Humane Society. Search Amazon.com for Animal Humane Society

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