I’m turning 30 in a couple of months, and that seems like a decent enough excuse to start a new blog. I thought about getting a tattoo, but once again flinging my thoughts out into the world seems like a slightly less painful form of self-expression.
Not that I don’t like writing– I’ve been writing since before I could spell. (Clearly.) It’s just what I do, in one format or another, and when I don’t write I get angsty and prone to existential crises. Writing is therapy, creativity, escape, the delight of language, the process of thought.
And vanity. Don’t forget vanity.
I had a blog before, and the biggest reason I stopped writing in it was the worry that I was writing not so much for the therapy, creativity, delight, etcetera, as because I enjoyed the attention and the nice things that the people who read my blog would say about me. I liked getting pats on the back. I feared I was turning into an affirmation addict. We all need affirmation, of course, but I wanted blogging to be about writing and not about making me feel better about myself as a writer.
I’ve been writing a novel, which feels like the complete opposite of blogging. My older sister has read one chapter and my husband has read the prologue (and they’ve both promised to read more) but other than that, it’s just me in my little novel-world, plugging away, trying to do my best and improve my grasp of fiction writing. It’s been nine months now and the birth is nowhere imminent, and I miss the feedback, and let’s be honest, I miss the pats on the back. That scares me to death. I have always wanted to write something that’s good, whether it gets read or not. I want my passion to be writing well, not writing marketably.
However, because of my friend Julianne who launched her new blog in the past year, I’ve caught the vision of blogging as community-building, as story-telling, as creating a safe place for people to come and sit and wonder about things together. We all have our stories to tell, and I’m not an exception. Self-expression is as old as cave paintings; we all want to sound our barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world*, or maybe we just want to whisper our questions and hope that maybe somebody else will hear them and tell us that they’ve been wondering the same thing. And of course vanity will be all mixed up because we can’t ever get completely away from our egos, but that’s okay too. We can have grace for each other, for ourselves.
So here I go again. If you want to sit and wonder with me, then welcome, and if the stories I have to tell are interesting to you, I’m delighted, and if you think my thoughts about things are totally wrong then cool, let’s have a conversation about it. And if my barbaric yawp makes you want to sound yours, then all I can say is– Hallelujah!
*Credit where credit is due; I did read (some of) Leaves of Grass at some point in college, but the only reason it is in my brain while writing this post is because the other night my husband was reading Horton Hears A Who to our kids, and at the end when Jo-Jo says “YOP!” my fighter-test-pilot husband, who has two engineering master’s degrees and is so left-brained that sometimes I wonder how we ever fell in love with each other, glanced at me and muttered, “Sounding my barbaric yawp” before he went on reading the story. And then I remembered (a) Leaves of Grass and (b) why I fell in love with Nate.