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 I've written for years: poetry in my teens (some sappy and some not so bad...one even won a contest), an unpublished novel (to see if I could) that lives in a plastic folder, waiting to be revised, and another novel that I'm writing, which is about two-thirds finished.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 secrets.....shhhhhh..it! 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?