Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day One

I've never blogged before, and rarely kept a journal...a consistent one anyway...and yet here I am writing my first blog. I've written for years: poetry in my teens (some sappy and some not so even won a contest), an unpublished novel (to see if I could) that lives in a plastic folder, waiting to be revised, and another novel that I'm writing, which is about two-thirds finished. It's a first draft (obviously); I have many hours of revising and editing in my future.

So why, in heaven's name, when I have a novel to complete, and another to revise, would I begin yet another writing project (ie this blog)?

ADD? Maybe. I've never been tested but I suspect I have traces of it sabotaging my work ethic. I've related to many examples in an ex, my children, and former students....if you spot it, you got it!

Actually, my desire to blog stems from two passions: writing and connecting. I want to write. I love to write. I don't know if my novels will ever become available to the general public, either electronically or book form. Not only that, but novels are LONG! And, for me anyway, they take a long time to write. Yet there is a voice inside that wants to be heard. Here, I can say whatever I want (and so can you, for that matter!). No characters to deal with, no plot to follow (or remember -- I'm 54, after all!), no dialogue (unless I just feel like it).

I contemplated (and wrote) some short essays, thinking I could compile them (read Robert Fulgum...although I don't pretend to be as insightful or funny as he is!). My next thought was, "Who are you? Nobody! Who would want to read your stuff?" I listened to that "suggestion" until today. I'm not going to let the negative, lying voices in my head decide my actions. It's all bullshit! Anything that keeps me from living and speaking my truth is bullshit.

My other passion is making connections. When I was teaching (I've been "retired" since May 2011!  Wooohooooo!!), my favorite part of the job was a series of letters I shared with my high school English students. It started several years ago (more about that another time). I wrote my classes a letter, added requirements (a page in length and they had a week to complete it), and made it a quiz grade (so they would take it seriously). The letters themselves had nothing to do with the literature or skills we worked on; they had to do with intangibles such as integrity, balance and surrender. I received remarkable answers, and cherished the connections I made with the kids. They told me about their hopes and dreams, their fears and trials. It could be heartbreaking, but I hoped that the connection we made, and the thoughts we shared, might help them. I have experiences in a myriad of situations, and passed on my insights to those who asked. My dream is that something I write will stir something in you, that we connect, and both become better because of the connection.

In addition to above-mentioned passions, I have declared 2012

The Year of Courage!

I want to write...I want to be authentic with you...I want to share my truth...and that scares the hell outta me! My first thought (really and truly!) was to write anonymously...something like The Secret Blogger,  Madame Mysterioso  or something equally smarmy. And then the irony of being authentic under a pseudonym hit me and I cracked myself up (sometimes I'm a little  slow). So, my pledge to you, dear reader, is to be authentic, even when it's scary. You may not always like it. I may not always like it! I've got some! I hope I can do this!

Finally, one of my not-so-secret secrets is that I like quotes. No, I looooove quotes. I'm sure regular people say meaningful things all the time, but when Winston Churchill or Helen Keller or Mother Teresa say something, it reverberates within me, each perfect word in its own perfect place. I wrote quotes on the board in my classroom daily...just because! I'll end with a couple of quotes and then ask a few questions to get the ball rolling. I'd love to hear from you!

Beginnings are always messy. -- John Galsworthy

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. -- Winston Churchill (who knew?!)

I hope this beginning hasn't been too messy! If you would like to join me on this blogging adventure, you are most welcome. Please speak up! Share! Don't be afraid to speak your truth! I will listen.

A few questions: If you could pick one word to characterize 2012 for you, what would it be, and why? What will need your courage this year? How are you feeling about your connections? Wanna make some more?

Have you ever been scared to reach out and speak your truth?

Have you been there?


  1. Yea!!! Welcome to the "bloggin' world" and congrats! Looking forward to more and having another bloggin' buddy.

    Funny you should ask about a word for 2012 - I've been pondering that for a week now and still not sure what mine is. I'm leaning towards Expansion. I want to expand in 2012. NOT physically (done enough of that in 2011-ha)!! But in my gifts and talents. I desire to grow deeper in Him and in myself. Reach out further, do more, learn more in my hobby (photography.) Travel more. Expand my borders.

    Great first post! Love ya!

  2. I like this, Claire! I also like connecting with you again! Congratulations on your retirement from teaching. I look forward to more of 'you'!

    Love and Blessings,

  3. Great word, Debbi! And a wonderful goal for 2012! Trust and vulnerability will both be on your journey with you this year. Reach out with both hands and grab all the brass rings you can!

  4. Claire,
    Awesome job! My word for 2012 is PLENTY! Matter of fact I have been focusing on the thought of "2012 the year of plenty".

    To say enough is not good enough.....if I'm honest I want plenty...a full or more than adequate amount or supply. I want plenty, financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

    I'm expecting PLENTY!

    Now we will see where that takes me as I continue to follow your blog thru this year. You've done a fine job of starting the connection.

    Hope you have time to go to
    I know, that's a website but it's really just a blog for now....and that's plenty for now. ;-)


  5. Wooohooo, Beth! You go, girl! Open those arms and let it all in!

  6. My word to 2012...Bittersweet.

    With the ever approaching AA degree looming around just around the corner, clasped in its hands, the promise of a better future. However, standing behind the degree is a scary, daunting shadow called lap band. Clasped it its hands, no guarantee for success, but rather, anxiety caused by the thought of becoming a failure.

    The word "bittersweet" will, undoubtedly, morph and change in to new words as the year goes on. Already, this year, I have successfully injured my back causing the date for my scary shadow, lap band, to be delayed.

    If all goes well, school and lap band alike, then my word should be something like...Success. Or, Overcome. I believe "Overcome" suits nicely. I suppose I should say the timid side of me says 2012 will be bittersweet, but the positive and, unfortunately small, optimistic sliver of my emotional pie chart predicts 2012 to be the year to Overcome.

  7. And overcome you will! I feel it. I know it! Good luck and let me know how it all works out.

  8. At first thought, my word is Fellowship:

       [fel-oh-ship] Show IPA noun, verb, -shipped or -shiped, -ship·ping or -ship·ing.

    1. the condition or relation of being a fellow: the fellowship of humankind.

    2. friendly relationship; companionship: the fellowship of father and son.

    3. community of interest, feeling, etc.

    4. communion, as between members of the same church.

    5. friendliness.

    I have lost touch with those I befriended in high school and after. I want to make the effort to open up those relationships again. I also, in my new career venture, feel that building up a network of fellow agents/brokers/vendors and members of other service industries can only do good things to improve and expand my business in it's budding years. Finally, I have my goal of becoming more spiritually involved at Fellowship church. By attending regularly and volunteering, my fellowship at church can assist in my personal and spiritual growth.

    2012 is my year of Fellowship.

  9. I love your word and the motivation behind it. I think reaching out in fellowship is a great idea. And it will let others get to know YOU (they will be the big winners there!).

  10. So, I've finally been skipping around your blog! What fun! We need to do some writing exchanging. So my word for this year is... patience.

    It's a good one for me. Trust me. ;-)

  11. Hello, Claire. I found your blog through a comment you made elsewhere. My word is limitless -- I've lost much over the past two years, which has been heart-breaking and liberating at the same time. I now have no limits, no boundaries, no shoulds. And I'm going to ride this horse through the West Texas Big Emptiness my new mindset. (How freakin' profound is that?)

  12. I'd say very profound! Thst's a tall order but, from the look of your profile, i have no doubt you'll succeed. Love west Tx! Esp the Alpine, Marfa, Big Bend area. Thanks for reading!

  13. [...] I mentioned in Day One, I am writing a novel and have completed about 2/3 of it. I signed up for NaNoWrimo to give myself [...]

  14. My word for 2012 = detail.
    Basically, 2012 is the year before I either start a PhD or a real-world adult job. So I want to explore the things I enjoy doing while I still have the free time: travelling, hobbies, etc. I also want/need to tie up "CV loose ends" (do more volunteering projects, expand my professional skills. At the moment it seems like I'll be having a busy year of it...

  15. Great word! It does sound like you'll be busy. Welcome, Claire (another one! Yay!).

  16. (The name was part of the reason I stumbled upon your blog... ;-) )

  17. Have I ever been afraid to speak my truth? More often than I care to mention. Great first post!


Yes! I've been there, Claire!