WARNING: My writing can be sarcastic, profane, irreverent, wise-cracking, and somewhat serious, sometimes all in the same paragraph.
Last week I started off the New Year with a grand plan to start blogging regularly. I’ve been trying to become a regular steady blogger for well over a decade and every single time my efforts ground to a halt. And yes, I’ve repeatedly asked myself why, but I’ve never found the answer I’ve been looking for. Hopefully, I’ve found it now in two things that have been at the forefront of my mind since my restart ground to a halt.
The first thing that’s been on a repeat loop in my mind is how much I’ve been told in the past that I can’t do this or that. I’ve heard the word ‘no’ more than I’ve ever heard the word ‘yes’ in my life and any ‘yes’ wasn’t followed by a lot of encouragement and support. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years working through this and it seems I’ve got a little more work to do. I had to dig in and see how this related to my decade-plus desire to become a writer and blogger.
The answer to this question of why I’ve never fully pursued my writing and blogging had an answer I sure as heck didn’t anticipate at all. It came from a very interesting source that has taken me a few days to figure out and put into words here. It’s where the title of this blog entry comes from with a story starts back over thirty years ago.
Growing up I read everything I could get my hands on- newspapers, magazines, books, the backs of cereal boxes. My parents, God bless them, never restricted me in what I could read (or watch or listen to, either) and because of that I lived with words around me twenty-four-seven. And yes, it’s one of the reasons I began writing. In high school, I began to formulate a dream of being a journalist-muckraking commentator like the late great Molly Ivins. I wanted to be a kick-ass writer who told the truth and had fun doing it. I never told anyone I wanted to do this because I knew what I would be told in return, “No.” I knew I would get some bullshit song-and-dance about how I didn’t have what it took or that I wasn’t tough enough to take the shit in return. Because of that, I let my grades slack off pretty badly in high school (I graduated with a low C average) and didn’t do a single thing to apply for college at all.
Luckily, my parents let me have some gap years, living at home working part-time gigs while writing. By the time I was twenty, I began to formulate a plan of getting a job and going to community college part-time to get my basic coursework out of the way then transferring to a four-year college as an English or Journalism major. Again, I didn’t tell anyone about this but for a different reason.
When I was twenty, my dad had his first heart attack followed by a series of health issues that began my caregiving years as I call them. Then when I was twenty-one and my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, I put this plan aside completely. But my parents refused to let me give up on my writing and I shifted to an attempt at a fiction-writing career because I figured I could do that without a college degree and part-time while continuing my caregiving responsibilities. And because my parents and I took way too much shit for my writing aspirations, I’ve held back more often than not.
In the early 2000’s after my mother died, blogging emerged on the internet. For the first time writers had a way to get their writing out into the world without battering at the gates of traditional print publishers (books, newspapers, magazines). Bloggers began to get book deals and make money just from writing and posting directly to the internet. I wanted in on that so badly but until just this past week, I didn’t really understand why. It was because a part of me realized this internet-blogging thing was a way of making my dreams of being a journalist-muckraking commentator come true in addition to continuing to write fiction and other things.
I didn’t just defer my writing dreams in order to devote myself to being a full-time caregiver. I deferred those writing dreams because of two things:
I didn’t want to confront people who would tell me I couldn’t do what I wanted to even though they had NOT done what I’d done and were talking of their asses. Because when I gently tried to push back, I got a shit-ton of butt-hurt feelings in return. And therefore, I found it a bit easier to just shut up and not say anything to anyone.
Second, I have been told, literally to my face, that I should just shut up and get over my shit. I’ve been told to just let it go and not talk about anything of substance or meaning, especially my thoughts and feelings. I’ve been told that when I talk about my feelings and my emotional recovery that I’m nothing but an attention-seeking martyr.
I deferred my dreams more often than not for other people who had no right to that sacrifice of mine at all. So, I’m going to say this now: this isn’t about them. It’s about me and what I want to do with my life.
I love writing every day even during the times it drives me nuts and has me cussing up a blue streak. I love writing even when it makes me angry and hurt at the same time. I love writing even when I’m constantly writing and rewriting and deleting and starting over multiple times like I’ve done with this piece. Maybe this sounds like insanity to some readers, but writers are a breed unto themselves. And yes, I have used writing as therapy and will continue to do so. Because like a lot of writers, it’s either been write or go crazy.
So, what can you expect from this blog?
Something every damn day for starters. And in the next week or so, daily doubles as I’ll call them: the single daily piece and another multi-part piece (I’ve got plenty of ideas on tap for those) in addition to other things I want to do going forward. I’ve always been afraid for some dumb-ass reason about putting a lot of content out in the world but the writers who are successful today on the internet put the content out there. And if anyone has an issue with this, please come and tell me and try to be creative about it. Yes, that was sarcasm because as I was telling a passenger of mine last night (my paying gig is as an Uber driver) that I feel like I’ve pretty much heard it all and am just listening to variations on a theme now.
On a final note I will say this:
A dream deferred will always try to find a way come true.