It's 12:37 a.m. (Flashback from last Wednesday)
I'm lying in bed -- on my back, that is, not prevaricating -- reading my favorite book, The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner, and it isn't disappointing. It is my belief, something magical happens when reading her book. Bit by bit, my deflated ego swells, ideas start to percolate, and I am once again ready to scrape my esteem off the guillotine and start anew tomorrow. There is only one other book that does for my soul what The Forest for the Trees does, without fail, every time I crack open the satiny soft parchment paper. The beautiful prose, funny anecdotes, and personal look into the mind of someone so relatable and enigmatic, both soothes and galvanizes my weary writer's heart.
*** Please excuse this brief interruption ***
Currently, there is a persistent and effusive fly swarming around me. I don't know what it is exactly; why the fairly innocuous fly thoroughly revolts me, sending me squawking and flailing to the nearest exit. Possibly that it's little enough to use my ear drum as it's own personal landing strip, while large enough to contaminate my food with their disease laden grossness. Eck. For some reason, he is unable to see that I am attending to very serious business here and refuses to leave me alone. I apologize if the tone of this entry grows progressively hostile. I thrust all blame upon the intruder seeking to nibble my Trader Joe's turkey jerky.
*** This concludes the interruption. Now back to your regularly scheduled blog ***
As I was saying... My confidence is flying high. Betsy and I are trucking along in harmonious do-si-do, with her leading, and me grateful for the support. Not unexpectedly, I have an idea. I want to create a blog; not just any blog, but one that will provide me a therapeutic outlet, while at the same time be helpful to my fellow scribes. Here I will share the frustrations that inevitably embitter every writer, offer tools that have helped me combat the dreaded writer's block, and if nothing more, provide the reminder that you are not alone.
A fanciful vignette had been floating around in my mind all day. Try as I might, however, I couldn't seem to catch it. Of course -- because it's what we writers do -- I personified the experience. I imagined it mocking me in quibbling whispers, permitting my pinching fingertips to grasp the edges of tangibility before retreating to the unreachable caverns of my mind. But the time came when it could evade me no more. Betsy and I, the unstoppable force that we are, shackled that vignette and humbled it into submission. Quickly -- before it could wriggle free -- I leapt from the bed, grabbing the pen and note-cards I keep handy in the event that brilliance decides to stop by for a visit. After carefully drawing out what is now the header of this blog, I tucked the note-card beneath my graphic designer husband's pillow and hurried to send him an e-mail. Wasn't it after midnight, you ask? Nothing to be done about till morning? Well... Yea... But time is of the essence and the sooner that e-mail was in his inbox, the sooner I would be the proprietor of the blog that would change all blogs for all eternity!! Okay, maybe not... But I would be one step closer to bringing my vision to life. As a writer, there is nothing more fulfilling than this.
It was now close to 1 a.m., and though I was much too excited to sleep, I did so anyway. When I awoke, I immediately flung myself in front of my laptop and IM'd my husband. As it was around nine a.m. or so, Michael had already been at his job -- the one that doesn't pay in comments and accolades -- for two and half hours. I may have typed something like, "Good morning hunny! Hope you slept well... yadda yadda, Miss you so, so, so much... yadda yadda, You're all I've been thinking about... yadda yadda," before exposing myself for the self-serving wife that I am. I believe the following IM went something like this, "Well?!? Did you do it?!? Is it done?!? Can I see it?!? Whenever is cool... though..." Shortly after my shamelessly eager beseeching, my husband procured the most beautiful blog I had ever seen. Granted, I was not much of a blogger and up until a week ago that count numbered approximately three or four blog posts, but still, it was perfect!!
i wryte prettie was up and running! With precisely two followers, one of them an ebullient Cara R. Olsen, I was ready to change history. Only history would have to wait for a little while until I could articulate my zealous vision. Isn't that just like an artist? I have an idea for a song! A painting! A new armoire for my mother! The fall line at Nordstrom's! Crap... now I actually have to do something about it.
Which has led me to this joyous day.
So here it is:
I am a perfectionist. It's both my greatest asset and greatest detriment when it comes to writing -- and everything else in my life, if I am being completely honest. But strictly in my prose, it manifests itself boldly, demanding to be obeyed. If I miss an i that should have been capitalized, inexplicably changed tenses, have dialogue that falls flat, characters with the depth of a tabletop and intrigue of silly-putty, or come across a sentence that could have benefited from some punctuation such as a period comma or semi-colon but for some reason I have overlooked that fact and now have a indisputably grotesque run-on sentence that makes me want to vomit... you get the idea. All these things don't just make me cringe, they make me doubt every iota of skill and ability I might possess as a writer. I'm reduced to worthlessness because it's not "perfect." So, I'm left with two options. I can either continue to strive for perfection and fall embarrassingly short every time, or I can tell perfection to shove off! For those of you who are well acquainted with me, you know I absolutely thought seriously about the first; however in the end, I went with the latter. Ergo, i wryte prettie. It is my affront to literacy. Spelled incorrectly and an altogether trite title, I put the heel of my boot into the supercilious face of perfection. "So there!" I say.
Now, in all actuality, it's just a blog. If I want to over-come this stunting disease, I will have to continue to fight every minute of every single day to speak above the voices. The powers at be seek to silence me, prove to me I am inept, incompetent, and unexceptional in every way, shape, and form. But here's the thing. I'm not. You're not either. Whether writer, nurse, mother, teacher, whether you perform nightly as an aerialist in a death defying Cirque du Soilel show, or deliver mail for a living, there is purpose that only you can achieve. At the risk of stealing Smokey the Bear's thunder, only YOU can share your unique insights. Imagine if Thomas Alva Edison never shared his knowledge of how to improve the incandescent lamp. Sure, someone had already invented the light bulb, but it was Edison who discovered how to sustain the energy and ultimately developed an entire integrated system of electric lighting. Maybe another inventor would have come along shortly and moved civilization in this advantageous direction, but then again... maybe not. That's my whole point. You don't know what effect your words, ideas, and insights will have on someone. You may impact one life, or you may impact a billion. The worst thing you could do, would be to censor yourself; to believe your thoughts are unimportant or your work purposeless. Even if I am the only one listening, my voice matters.
I am a writer.