Checking In, Stretching Out

It has been a while since I last posted, sorry about that. Not that anyone cares except my guilt and ego. Anyway, it will be a short post because I don’t have a lot to say. Actually, that’s a lie, I have so much to say but nothing that applies to the theme of my blog. I simply want to check in with the blogging muscles, like doing yoga after a long time without. My muscles might be tight, my breath shallow and unsteady, but we’ll work it out. The reason I haven’t been blogging, well, there are a few. One is that I am doing so much writing in other genres (yay!) This is good. Working in the evenings gives me all day to write in the solitude of my one room apartment or read in the sun at the park.

I have done more writing than I ever thought possible, remembering things I never thought I would. I am finishing books like an addict, and it feels really good after years of being force fed mandatory reading that I would always spit up and cry over. I feel like a child again, when I would read Junie B. Jones out loud every night in my bed because I didn’t know how to read in my head yet. That’s how I feel about my books lately. The characters dance around my room and follow me everywhere like imaginary friends. I am learning so much from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Cheryl Strayed, Steven Koch, John Krakauer, and Jeanette Walls, as I dive into short story writing, finding a few sincere endings to my several beginnings.

Of course, writing is hard, and some days I’ll find any excuse not to open my laptop; but I am adequately pleased by this elongated burst of motivation. I think it’s because if I didn’t write, there would be no reason to ever get out of bed before 4 PM. Writing forces my ass awake and makes me be a person, an artist. It gives me a goal and an outlet for self improvement. To nourish this good habit, I attend a writing class once a week. It’s the most exhilarating feeling in the world, to have your youth and mediocrity and ignorance and arrogance and entitlement thrown in your face for two hours each week. That’s not sarcasm – it’s so fun learning new ways to think about writing that I never would have thought on my own. It’s like discovering the magician’s secret. Readers have no idea that the writer is playing tricks right before their eyes, and only when the writer pulls back the veil do we see the mechanics and realize, We’ve been tricked! in the giddiest way.

When I get carried away with my dreams of being published for real, or writing like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie one day, the writing class reminds me of what’s real. How far I have to go and how much work there is to do. As Cheryl Strayed wrote, “The best possible thing you can do is get your ass down onto the floor. Write so blazingly good that you can’t be framed.” After reading Tiny Beautiful Things, I typed, printed, and taped my favorite quotes on the wall of my apartment. That quote is up there. Another one says this: “Writing is hard for every last one of us – straight white men included. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.”

This blog has not deceased, but it is on a temporary leave of absence. Maternity leave, if you will, having recently birthed messy drafts that I must nurture to proper greatness. Maybe Donald Trump will become president and I’ll blog about my adventure moving to a different country. Just kidding, I don’t want to even joke about that. My blog will pick up again in time and perhaps die down, who knows. All I know is that I want to delete my social media, but I have this blog, so I hold on, meagerly. I am sick of Facebook and Twitter and putting pressure on myself to be something great when so few are actually great at this age. Would I rather be famous because of an internet fluke or because I actually earned my title and contributed valuable words to society? The latter, please. Which means it won’t happen anytime soon. Keep in mind my idea of “famous” means writing a book that has pages and a spine and a New York Times review declaring it “Dazzling!” and makes people think in ways they never thought before, or fall in love with a character so profoundly their knees buckle in real life thinking about them. Honestly, I don’t care about fame, I only care about improving myself as a writer. Humility brings me home to the page.

Now, for my last quote by Cheryl Strayed, which every twenty-something should know, remember, memorize until it buries itself so deep in your marrow to manifest growth and sprout wings:

You are so goddamn young. Which means about eight of the ten things you have decided about yourself will over time prove to be false. The other two things will prove to be so true that you’ll look back in twenty years and howl.

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