Sometimes a writer looks back on what she’s created, and sees glimpses of, if not genius, something really fine. That isn’t arrogance or an inflated sense of self. It just is. If you put enough words out there, some of them are going to capture a slice of life, a moment in time, a story, a lesson, or a feeling in a way that makes you proud.
I’ve written stuff that made me laugh so hard I almost peed myself. More importantly, I’ve had others tell me my words did the same to them. What’s life all about if you can’t make someone else pee now and then?
But let’s be honest. That’s the bright side. Along the way, some of the stuff I’ve written has made me want to cry, too. And I’m not just talking in that nailed-a-moment way, where your words are like one of those horrible but beautiful save-the-animals commercials that make anyone with a heart cry. I’m talking about the kind of writing that you throw out there in a moment, in the middle of a divorce or a hell-job or a day when your bank account is busted and you get a new gray hair. I’m talking about the kind of words you go back to and realize what you did wasn’t just vent or capture a universal feeling or laugh at yourself. What you did was give in to your inner sniveling drama queen.
After journaling and blogging for 10 years, I’ve amassed a collection of entries that run across that spectrum. The place where they live is me – the good, the bad, the ugly. And because taking out the ugly is dishonest, that journal is now retired, a place I can go to see the best and worst of myself as I lived out my 30’s, sometimes coasting along and more often, sliding down an ice slick on my bare butt.
I turned 40 in August. So it seems like time for a new chapter, both in my life and in my writing. For the last six months, I’ve been slowly killing that old blog and had pretty much decided that I wasn’t giving birth to another one. I’ve been shifting gears. I’ve spent my whole adult life whining about wanting to be a writer. Unlike lots of wannabes, I’ve written pages and pages and pages. But instead of focusing on pulling something coherent together, I just spit out daily snippets online. Now, I’ve decided, is the time to focus in on those short stories and essays and maybe even that novel that I know live in me somewhere, to stop burying them in BS and let them breathe some fresh air. Like a million other wannabes, I have a “real” job and a big enough life, and there’s only so many hours in the day. So I worried that blogging would distract me from that goal.
But the more I think and read and communicate with other writers and reconnect with old blogging friends, I realize that’s probably not the case. Becoming a writer is like building a house. And a blog, if used the right way, can be part of the foundation.
I’m going to attempt to use this one in that way. So please, if I go all drama queen instead, someone slap me.