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I am not a writer.

I imagine that writers are very sure of their words. They rarely stumble — a stutter is unheard of. I imagine they effortlessly put down on paper the thoughts they have and can articulate them in such a way that everyone reads them with no other interpretation except the one the writer wanted them to have. Right?

I am not a writer.

I imagine that writers don’t have a spiral notebook hidden in the bottom of the side table drawer. A writer certainly wouldn’t sneak that notebook out in the dark of the night and jot down the poems and prose and words and thoughts that pop in to her mind and when she’s done, she safely tucks all those words back underneath all the forgotten bills so no one is the wiser. Right?

I am not a writer.

I imagine that writers write. They don’t stop to take care of their children or pause to run to the store for the forgotten dog food or jump as far away from an unhealthy marriage as possible or watch their parents die a slow painful death or run to the movies just because. Writers write. Right?

I am not a writer.

I imagine that writers always know how to write from their heart. They never get their words confused and release words that should have stayed hidden. Writers know how to pull the thoughts that are causing the beating of their hearts to race and put them down on paper. They know how to sort through the broken musings and unveil only the whole thoughts. Right?

I am not a writer.

I imagine that writers don’t have fragmented hearts. I imagine that writers write from their hearts because they all have perfectly symmetrical hearts ripe with emotion and the thoughts of a life lived in perfect harmony. Writers don’t confuse writing from a fragmented heart using fragmented words and fragmented thoughts with writing from their perfectly beating heart. Right?

I am not a writer.

I imagine that writers have learned all the lessons in life, that’s why they can write. They don’t need to learn any lessons, they don’t need people to teach them, they aren’t perpetual students. Writers have lived and loved and done it all without regret so that when they put their words down on paper, the meaning is clear. Right?

I am not a writer.

I imagine that writers can open their hearts and spill their souls out on to the page and let themselves be seen in the most naked sense of the word and they can be safe and whole and not have missing pieces. Writers are like the perfect puzzle that never has a missing piece and fits together perfectly no matter how many times the pieces are thrown in anger off the table — they always fall back in to place. Right?

I am not a writer.

I imagine that writers know the difference between writing that brings about understanding and conversation and evolution as opposed to releasing a small amount of atomic energy that should have been left to the disposal of little men in hazmat suits. They think and breath and love and trust and open themselves up for all the world to gaze at. They don’t confuse revolving and evolving because they live and write from their hearts — their whole, un-fragmented hearts. Right?

I am not a writer.

I imagine that writers write with wild abandon and are sure-footed and proud of all they put on paper. Writers are the teachers for us all. They have overcome all the lessons that life has handed them and now they can guide us to a better understanding of our own soul-searching efforts. We are all but perpetual students filling the classroom of their thoughts… hanging on their every word. Right?

I am not a writer.

I imagine that writers know when to step away and see things from a distance — the big picture. Writers probably know when they’ve gone too far or not quite far enough. They know the perfect words to use and how to use them… how to order them. Writers know how to write. Right?

I am not a writer.

We are all but perpetual students.

Learning.

Evolving.

Stepping away.

Right?

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“Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, how alive am I willing to be?”

~~~

Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life)

 

I’ve come here many times this month. I’ve come here upset. I’ve come here happy. I’ve come here frustrated. I’ve come here sad. I’ve come here full of the angst that has driven me to the brink of implosion.

I came here too often this month to delete this whole blog — it’s quite easy, just a click of a button and it all disappears. I thought, maybe, I would start over. I thought, maybe, I would pretend it never was. But… being deleted seems a little sad. So, on my trips here to contemplate the deletion of my words, I would read an old post but more importantly I would read your comments and I would laugh and smile and think, “… not today, I’m not going to delete this today.”

Soon, my visits here were less about deleting and more about writing and processing and evolving — I started to write. Deep within the bowels of the rough draft section there are many very rough drafts… but I was writing. I wrote out my thoughts on post-it notes and laid them out at the end of the day to see if I could piece it all together. I wrote out my thoughts on the backs of some bills and on some half used napkins and on a spiral notebook I dug out of the bottom of a drawer. I wrote out my thoughts and let them go, many of them any way. Lit them on fire in a ceremonial pit and watched them disappear… burn down to nothing more than weightless ashes that had no hold over me — my inner musings… not quite blog worthy.

My visits here were no longer about deleting this place but more about taking it back. I felt myself perpetually revolving less and less and doing more of the evolving that I mistakenly thought I was doing but in reality, I was trapped in a revolving door like Buddy the Elf… fun for a while but dizzying.

The lessons I have to learn on my own are usually the ones I don’t want to look at, usually the ones that piss me off the most, usually the ones that have the greatest impact on me — maybe that’s the way it is for all of us. We search for people to teach us — that’s the easy way out I guess. When we learn things on our own we remember them better. I love to learn, don’t get me wrong — I’m an ageless student. It’s possible I’ll drive you mad with my wonderings — I want to know, I want to learn, I want to evolve. I’m not a fast learner, I’m not through by any means. Some days I feel like I’m on an accelerated program though — I want to shout my epiphanies from the rooftops and basements and every silent closed off space that I think needs to be filled.

I’ve been thinking about this concept of writing from the heart — I thought I knew what that meant. I thought that writing from the heart meant opening yourself up, letting yourself be seen, spilling everything out on the pages. It is … actually. But, I discovered something recently. Writing from your heart and writing from your fragmented heart are far different. One yields evolution and conversation and light while the other generates apocalyptic amounts of atomic energy.

It’s similar to living from your heart, I suppose. We live and learn and love and we do those things guided by our hearts. Our heads step in periodically to keep us in check, that’s good I think… a balance. Our hearts sometimes get fragmented. Sometimes a piece gets misplaced so when we try to listen to our hearts, its beating is a little off kilter — so our lives get a little out of rhythm. That’s when we need to rest, regroup, gather ourselves — live from our hearts, our whole hearts.

I’m here, on my accelerated learning program, writing from my heart… it feels good. My heart has taken a beating, but… I’ll tell you, it feels very whole and alive and filled with the anticipation of a new day. My heart is finally evolving. I stopped the revolving door that was making me ever so dizzy and took a deep breath. Sometimes I’ve felt as though I was on a never-ending roller coaster ride that maintains a tight gravitational pull on you as you round the corners and then pushes you into the loopty loops and finally you hit that last turn and you can breath — that’s what my evolving heart feels like. There might be a revolving door trying to get me to jump back on and do some more spinning, but I think I’ll know when to jump off this time. I think I’ll try writing from my heart and not writing to spite my heart.

I’ve learned many lessons lately, lessons I really didn’t want to learn… I learned how to say I was wrong, I learned how to say I was right, I learned how to pause, I learned how to seek out assistance, I learned how to stay strong, I learned how to cave, I learned how to beg, I learned I have a spine, I learned how to forgive, I learned how to be forgiven, I learned how to open my heart and listen and hope and love. I learned that the readers and commenters here at First Pages have taught me how to be human and whole and alive — even when it hurts. I learned that the places my heart takes me are exactly where I’m supposed to be… and I learned that I am willing to be very alive.

The day I stopped writing last month was a long day, and then I read this

Also, todays reverb10 writing prompt was “let go”. I wrote a post recently on letting go and it actually led me to walk away from this blog. So, when I read the prompt, I realized that I already started really letting go… that’s why I was able to push publish again.

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Counter clockwise

A simple shift….
a crow bar’s wrench
to the left

In the iris of your
dark heart

To make a space,
a sliver….
an opening

To actually see,
touch and feel

The light that
is me. ~~~ Karen Schindler

 

I had a post all ready for the one year anniversary of my blog. It was good too. I wrote it two weeks in advance. I made sure it was exactly what I wanted to say. I checked my links. I made sure everything was okay for me to push that publish button — but I didn’t, I walked away from it.

In reality, walking away from the things I care about is not my best asset. But — I learn, I mess up, I try again. I decided it needed some space to breathe. I decided I needed some space to breathe — I decided that when I thought I was giving out that precious space to breathe, I was actually smothering… like always. So the post I so meticulously wrote two weeks in advance has been shoved in to the “draft” section of this blog, along with 46 other drafts that I’ve been too hesitant to push the publish button on.

In the year since starting this blog, in October of 2009, I’ve gotten the strength (and sometimes temporary insanity) to push the publish button on 142 posts. I’ve trashed one and there is one in the pending column (I didn’t realize there was a pending column)… and those 46 lingering drafts.

It’s been a weird year (this is the part where you all shake your heads vigorously). I learned a lot about myself — some of it I would have liked to stay hidden away. I’ve learned that reaching out can hurt and it can heal. I’ve learned that writing can leave me scared and alone and it can bring me to terms with my own shortcomings. I’ve learned that friendship is a sacred tricky thing. I’ve learned that sometimes “I’m sorry” is not the phrase that should be uttered. I’ve learned that I owe some apologies to people, but I’m searching for the right words, still. I’ve learned that I’m more than a snippet of time — (and I’ve learned that I like to speak parenthetically).

I have lessons yet to learn.

Maybe this year will be the year that the pendulum swings in my favor.

Maybe one of the lessons that I need to learn this year is that the pendulum will swing in whatever general direction I give it a good shove.

A year in the life of Becky is here for all to analyze — open like a book. But, remember, I’m a real person making real (sometimes overwhelming) mistakes and making real (sometimes overpowering) connections and getting my very real heart (sometimes deservedly) broken… and learning that I’m evolving, aren’t you?

Photo from Annie Q. Syed

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I love this blog. Make no mistake about it — I love this blog. But, still, I have posed a question to myself on many occasions — to blog or not to blog.

I’ve discovered many things about having a blog and maintaining a blog and being a blogger and how all of that sounds completely vain and self-professed and a touch nerdy.

Here’s something I discovered recently, blog is short for weblog, which, of course, was a word coined to be the abbreviation of…  “we were very awkward and nerdy in high school and now we spew forth our teenage angst on the pages of our blogs hoping that you find us creative and awesome and mysteriously intelligent”.

One of the (many) problems with being a blogger is the blank stares and hushed whispers that often come from people who have discovered that you are a “blogger”. To squash these naysayers you must strive to have a successful blog.

I often question successful bloggers about how they do it all… how they maintain a popular blog while at the same time, growing as individuals and writers. The answer they give me is usually profound, “I don’t know…” (thank you, successful bloggers, for the insight).

Blogs are defined as… a web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer (blogger). Okay… so far so good, I do that stuff. But still… how do I let people know I have a blog without sounding like… well, a nerdy putz?

A great way to get the word out that you have a blog is to mention it in everyday conversation as much as possible. You can always turn the conversation to somehow include mention of your blog: “…oh, you cooked out last night? Well, on my blog I one time mention starting a fire. Oh yes, I have a blog.”

Once you mention the fact that you have a blog the conversation usually… well, it usually has nothing to do with your blog. In fact, on occasion, I’ve heard a pin drop and a distant clock ticking away the seconds as I waited for a response to my self-professed bloggy greatness. The mention of the blog can have devastating consequences that cause you to remember the true meaning of “blog” — “we were very awkward and nerdy in high school and now we spew forth our teenage angst on the pages of our blogs hoping that you find us creative and awesome and mysteriously intelligent”.

Another way to get the word out that you have a (the ultimate) blog is to somehow secure a guest blogger appearance on some of the more popular blogs. In reality, some of these blogs have so many guest bloggers that you could actually just say you guest blogged on the site and it would take years before anyone could prove you wrong… as a matter of fact, I recently made a guest blog appearance on TMZ, oh wait, no, I meant Perez Hilton (this statement just gained me at least one reader and is totally false).

Now, if neither of those options do your blog stats any justice, you can use your blog to mention other blogs that are, truly, great blogs — you know, guilt by association. Find a blog that doesn’t suck, like this one from my friend The Black Addler (of course you’ll see that this blog does, in fact, suck but for a whole different reason). Also, mention a blog that pulls at the heartstrings of your reader(s) like this one about dog rescue stories by Julie Klam. Julie also happens to be a best-selling author and my close personal friend… umm, right Julie? Julie? She’s a little busy right now with a new book coming out and all. This brings me to another good way of proving to all that you have an okay (totally awesome) blog — the name drop.

Like for instance, say you happen to be close personal friends with someone like say… Allison Winn Scotch or Laura Zigman or Elizabeth Eslami or Joe Wallace. Spreading their names across your blog might hush the naysayers once and for all. (Are we all still on for coffee later? Call me!)

Unfortunately, once you point out to your readers what a non-sucky blog looks and feels and sounds like… you will soon start assessing all the reasons why your blog might suck. A few reasons might be:

  • you choose a metaphoric background like, say… a puzzle (oh crap)
  • you describe your blog as a means to help you work through your “life journey” (oh crap)
  • you talk about how your blog can “fill your soul” (oh crap)
  • you spew forth thoughts that sometimes make your reader(s) cringe with the honesty (oh crap)
  • you are your blogs most frequent visitor (oh crap)
  • you constantly jot down notes in your everyday conversations that you know will make a great blog post (oh crap)
  • you describe why your blog could possibly suck to your reader(s) (oh crap)

In all (somewhat) seriousness, there were two very dark days since starting this blog that I came here with the intention of deleting the whole thing — just wiping it away. I can’t. I won’t (no matter how many petitions you send, so… stop already!). I guess only two days of thinking I needed this all to go away isn’t a bad average.

Sometimes I think this blog to be more of my personal journal and I left the key to it out on the kitchen table and the pesky neighbor came over and helped himself to my thoughts, my quirks, my pain, my words. Sometimes I think, “I can not believe I just pushed publish on that one”, and I laugh at the absurdity of my own thoughts — only to look back at some point during the day and have a wonderful comment make me glad I did. Sometimes I think, “wow, I hope no one I’m going to run in to today reads this and asks me questions”. Sometimes I think, “damn, I need to be funnier”.

So there it is… to blog or not to blog. I guess that’s the question (the fact that I’m still here should give you my answer).

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite blogs and why? Yes… I’m possibly going to use this information to garner a guest blog spot — I have a blog you know.

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