I know. It makes no sense.
But it's true. I alphabetize things that don't need it, I cook, I clean, I sleep, I watch tv, I surf the web. I spend too much time on twitter. I do anything but write.
It's ridiculous. I've been writing in journals and notebooks, scribbling on the backs of envelopes and bar napkins, and composing letters in my head for as long as I can remember. (Okay, maybe not the bar napkins. That was a later development.) I started this blog as a place to organize my thoughts, share my ideas, and have a living record of my experiences as a parent. I love the sense of community it gives me, the power inherent in having a voice (whether anyone listens or not) and the thrill of learning from others who've trodden the path before me or are walking by my side.
And yet, I don't write. I avoid it like... I dunno. Laundry? I hate laundry. Avoiding that makes sense.
Fear, friends. Fear is the dream killer.
It's not interested in what makes sense. It doesn't care what's rational, or even what's true. Its only focus is to prevent risk. Any risk, real or perceived. And imaginary risk is its specialty.
Fact: All my life I have longed to be a real writer.
Jebus. Just typing that out loud has made my hands shake.
So yes, I've longed to be a real writer, whatever that is. (Is blogging writing?)
I even managed in second year university to enroll in Creative Writing 100, with the intention of majoring in that or journalism. I went to the first class; it was all about poetry. We were assigned to write an autobiographical poem. The night before the class, drunk in the student pub, I dashed off a few lines of suckage and handed it in at the second class.
The third class, the prof gave a prize (one of her own books of poetry, she probably had a basement full of them) for the best poem. To me. She thought my poem was the best of what had been handed in.
I knew it was a piece of crap.
I never went back to that class again.
I haven't really ever told that story.
|The tyranny of the blank page|
People I respect and admire have told me they enjoy my blog. Out loud I thank them; inside my head I'm immediately discounting what they say. Based on my twitter stream, I've been told by someone who writes! professionally! that I should write a book. I joke that she's crazy. "From your mouth to a publisher's ear," I grin.
Recently at a party, I was introduced to someone as "Alexis, a very talented writer" and I almost fell out of my shoes. The Fear That Rules Me screamed, "No, no, no. Don't be ridiculous!" I managed to keep my game face on and shake hands like a normal person, but inside I was ramping up all the old arguments for why the person was so wrong.
But that moment made me pause. It's always interesting to catch a glimpse of yourself as others see you, like a reflection in a shop window as you hurry by. And in a heartbeat, I decided to stop discounting what I do and say in this space.
It's not easy.
I feel like a fool most of the time.
But the other day, as I met a friend, a writer friend, for coffee and encountered another friend, another writer friend at the same time, I introduced the two, saying "David, this is Heather. She's a writer too!"
And for a split second, I allowed the "too" to include me.
Then I did a crazy, crazy thing. A few days ago, I submitted one of my own posts for BlogHer's Voices of the Year. This one.
This is progress, yes?