Photographs capture moments in time. So do paintings.
I’ve always wanted to be an artist (but I am not artistic).
I’ve always wanted to be able to capture moments in a visual form. That’s not my gift, but I write to freeze time.
It started when I was in high school. I began keeping a journal to capture events that I wanted to use for a story I was working on, but the habit continued.
In those four short years, I filled dozens and dozens of composition books. My life was being recorded in front of my eyes.
Looking back on those entries now, I have to laugh at the thought process of my young self. I have to cringe at some of the things I did, and I have to wipe away tears remembering such angst and heartbreak. But looking back on who I was helps me to know who I am now and how the events of my past have influenced my present.
It’s like a time capsule, and it’s an incredible treasure.
I have a chance to stop time. Don’t we all want that? We want to freeze those outstanding moments so the memories of those events don’t become like a foggy dream.
In college, my boyfriend (now husband) went away one summer on a nine week training course. It was at the beginning of our relationship, so it was a make or break event for us. I found solace in writing one entry every day to him while he was gone, and when he returned, I gave it to him. Sure, he’s not into writing (or reading, for that matter), but it meant a lot to him that I took the time to write encouraging messages. It’s stashed away in some box in our basement, but I have it. Those nine weeks are frozen in time, and what a treasure they are.
Now I have two little ones. My girls are 19 months apart, so sometimes it feels like I have been raising twins. There’s a lot that I don’t remember about the first couple of years, and my oldest is only 4. Motherhood is a blur. Filled with long nights, poopy diapers, tears from babies and momma, and crazy hormone changes.
A month after the first daughter was born, I started keeping a journal for her. The second time around, I started one as soon as I got pregnant.
Writing to them is a way for me to freeze time. They’ll get the journals when they are older, but right now I get to look back on all their milestones and remember the silly things they did or the fears they had. I get to write entries about the strengths I see in them. Hopefully one day my words will be an encouragement to them. What a treasure that will be.
Looking through my writing is like flipping through old pictures. It takes you right back to that moment, and that’s what keeps me writing.
I write to freeze time. I write to remember the past and the lessons I’ve learned. I write to be an encouragement to others.
That’s what keeps me going when I feel like there are no words on my tongue.
The pictures that mean the most to me aren’t ones of perfectly staged moments. No, they’re the ones of daily living. They’re the candid shots.
That’s what my writing is. It’s a snapshot of the messy parts of life, but the simplest things end up being the most important.
That’s what inspires me to write.
Tynea Lewis is a former Title I teacher from Pennsylvania. She was named a 30 Under 30 honoree by the International Literacy Association in 2016 for her work with LitPick Student Book Reviews, an online reading and writing program. When she’s not busy overseeing the program, she loves to spend time with her husband and young daughters, write for a variety of audiences, and escape to the quietness of the mountains. You can connect with her on Twitter and Instagram at @TyneaLewis or on her blog at tynealewis.com.