Hello. Welcome. Thanks for reading.
An eloquent and appropriate beginning is hard to put into words. It’s so much easier to start in the middle, which can’t really be done practically. So here I find myself – at the beginning of something. Perhaps if I could better grasp what exactly it is that I am starting, I might better be able to name it, explain it and welcome the blog-reading world to it (from my perspective, current population = zero). Then again, if I could do that, perhaps this new e-venture (already, I’ve started with my own witty lexicography) might not even feel necessary. Six sentences in and I already feel as though I am digressing – and if anyone is still reading, the question at this point must be “Digressing from what?”
Perhaps a little background information will help. It should at least help me, which, I guess is truly the point.
I have recently felt both inspired and depressed by the endeavors of some friends and acquaintances. A fellow law school alum has quit her job, packed a single bag, and set off on her own for an uncharted adventure in Europe – all the while chronicling her experiences in her own blog; a friend from high school left his job and headed to LA to chase down his dream of being a stand-up comedian; and a former co-worker moved west and is pursuing her passion for photography while working and earning her Masters Degree, putting her work and thoughts online for the world to see. I envy these people and the adventures they have laid out for themselves, the pursuit of passion that they have embraced with abandon. Consequences be damned. I look at them and wish I could do the same: take a leap, make a change, and risk my comfortable and dull “set-in-my-way-ness”.
Then the reality of my life sets in and I think – they don’t have a child, they don’t have the debt and responsibilities that I have. My chance at an adventure is gone. A total cop-out and an excuse behind which I can comfortably hide. Taking a risk and making a change doesn’t require packing, or relocating, or a drastic restructuring of my life. And to be honest, I know nothing of their personal obligations and financial situations. So, really, the only thing holding me back is me. Such a revelation, I admit, is not particularly extraordinary and is quite cliché. I’m certain that such a feeling is motivation for many a writer or blogger. So, here I am, starting my own metaphorical journey.
I do have something in common with my risk-taking friends – I have a dream, actually a secret ambition. I want to write a novel. (Well, not so secret now. Of course, that assumes a reader, which I suspect is not the case.) Actually, I want to write many novels, to be published, to earn royalties and inspire movies, to have a one-line cameo in such a movie and earn a SAG card, to walk the red-carpet and spawn a literary empire. Ok, most of that is just glossy, glitzy icing on the real goal, which is to write and be published.
I acknowledge if my goal was truly just for my own sense of accomplishment then the previous paragraph would have ended with “I want to write a novel.” But I’m not really just looking for that lonely sense of self-satisfaction. I confess, I want external validation of what I do. Fame, money, movies would be nice, but I can honestly say having made it these – ahem – 29 years without such things, that I can live without them. What I will need, require, crave in order to feel achievement is external acceptance and appreciation of my creation.
Frankly, I know little about the publishing world. I am certain that despite success stories like J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyers, such seemingly “instant” commercial success is neither instant nor common. I’ve read about the “slush piles” on publishers’ desks. I don’t image that this effort will be easy and accept that I may never find the acceptance I so desire. It doesn’t escape me that my concerns about the difficulty of breaking into the writing field hinge on the difficulty of getting noticed and published among a sea of aspiring writers, not on my aptitude to write. Perhaps I already assume too much about my own abilities, creatively and literarily.
Please bear with me, but a brief detour here seems necessary. I mentioned earlier that my dream of becoming a novelist has been, until now, a secret. I’ve told no one but my husband. This is for two reasons. First, admitting to such a goal feels like too personal a revelation – I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about this makes me very reluctant to tell anyone about it. Anyone who knows me would find this statement shocking, since there is little, practically nothing, about myself that I don’t feel comfortable revealing. I don’t know if it’s the possibility of having to admit failure (and while I’ve generally been successful in any undertaking I’ve set my mind to, the fear of failure or admitting failure has never really been a problem before), or if I’m worried about people’s reaction to my admission, or if it’s something else entirely.
Second, the thought has occurred to me that at some point to get the external validation that I seek, someone is going to have to read what I’ve written. As exposed as I feel by admitting to wanting to write, this makes feel down-right raw, especially when I think of the people who know me best reading what I write. Perhaps I anticipate a level of honesty in my writing that I don’t actually have in my personal relationships. I am aware that I am worried that my friends and family will see themselves in my writing, even if they aren’t there, and what they read they won’t find flattering. Worse, I worry that they will feel compelled to lie about what they think of my work, to spare my feelings and our relationship.
Thus I think, now, I finally get to the point that probably should have appeared much earlier in this rambling monologue. I intend to use this blog as a way to hone my writing skills, to get my “creative juices” flowing, and, though I may be reaching a little too far with this objective, I hope to force a little discipline on myself with regular entries. Perhaps most importantly but least likely, since I realize that the anonymity of writing this blog buffers my personal exposure and is, frankly, simultaneously ironic and quite cliché (I’ve used that word twice here – clearly my vocabulary is rusty.), I hope to get over my fear of being read. (For the third time, assuming readers! Thus far my ego is firmly intact!) Still, I’m not even telling any friends or family where to find this – so I am not yet actually addressing my real fear. But, I think refraining from doing so, at least for the time being, will allow me to be more open and honest in my writing. (Yes, more over-done irony, I know – a blogger chronicling a personal journey of self-discovery and growth – such a pioneer I am!)
Here now I reach the end of this pedantic prologue. (As I’ve mentioned, I need to hone my skills.) A map of what to expect seems in order at this point. Ramblings, musings, and the occasional creative writing sample will appear. I am constantly “writing” in my head and will likely use this blog as a way to get it out and down “on paper.” I am taking up photography as a hobby (Feeling as though I truly embrace and embody the cliché (three times!)) and will post the occasional photo, if I feel I have something creative, poignant or provocative to write about it. I’m actually hoping that photography will help me unlock my inner creative muse. I think part of what may be holding back my writing is my more often than not “in the box” way of thinking. I hope to avoid turning this into a counseling session where I gripe about the specifics of my life – I’ve never been much of a “Dear Diary” girl and don’t really see that starting in my very late “twenties”. I am hoping not to write anything that will obviate my anonymity and, in an effort not to violate my ethical obligations as an attorney, I will rarely, if ever, write about anything directly related to work. Finally, I will try not to prattle on about my adorable, lovable, beautiful, brilliant daughter.
Thank you for sticking with me this far. May the ride be thrilling, revealing, intriguing and useful. And away we go…