The last time I took a creative writing class, I was at an uncomfortable metal desk as a sophomore in high school. After that, everything became very processed and less about the craft and more about proper punctuation and dangling participles. To make up for what I lost creatively, I kept journaling and writing poetry. My bedroom was wallpapered in teenage angst. Looking back, I can only imagine what my parents were thinking.
“Should we get her counseling or…”
I spent nights sitting on our roof, using the infinite sky as inspiration because I could. Responsibility was a part-time job at a local movie theater and covering up tracks to minor misgivings. On to college, and the focus was always LOOK TO THE FUTURE. MUST BE PRODUCTIVE MEMBER OF SOCIETY. As an education major, the responsibility suddenly became real: my finished product would be a person, not a piece of paper. Writing would have to wait.
Writing waited a long time.
This blog finally came to fruition after a combination of desperately needing catharsis and a physical longing to write words again. But much like my college realization of real responsibility, so too are three kids, a full-time job, and adulting. I persevered and after 4 years, my .com still exists.
Which is pretty rad.
Though I’ve been fortunate to continually spew words here and there, enlightened they are not. I’ve lacked time and purpose and that undeniable heat that only some of you are nodding along to right now. I was writing, but not always with my whole heart.
Then in November of last year, I met a woman who changed everything. She reignited my passion. She told her story of almost absolute loss, maybe maybe not dumb luck, and second chances. She cried openly, she cursed like a sailor, and she admitted her love affair with the craft.
And I fell head hard for this chick.
She respects the art of writing. She honors it, she knows its place in my life without ever even knowing me. Janelle Hatchett is the real deal and if nothing else, the one who inspired me to keep going.
I could go on about my admiration for Janelle, but I won’t. She’d hate it and tell me to stop because she doesn’t think she’s worthy, and then we’d have to fight and she’d win because she’s got that brilliant scary factor working in her favor and all I’ve got is my 5’1 on a good day and a bit of pent-up rage thanks to PMS. At any rate, Janelle’s writing workshop, Write Anyway, is saving my word babies from being aborted into nothingness. I’m becoming reacquainted with my first true love and it feels so good.
I made a promise to myself that I would share the results of our weekly prompts. It won’t be easy, or pretty, because the prompts dig into uncomfortable places and throw us onto the dance floor all vulnerable and “but I don’t dance!” Too bad. I’m practicing the art of surrender.
First, a warning:
Dear Daddy and other people who don’t like when I use swears,
I cuss in my Write Anyway pieces. Sometimes a lot. I’ve censored myself a bit on here considering my audience (*waves to Dad*). You have been warned.
Procede with caution and don’t nag me at Sunday family dinner,
Week 1 Prompt:
What Has Life Taught Me That Nobody Else Has Learned?
After 35 years on this planet, I feel like I know less now than ever. I stared at this blank sheet of paper for days and nothing came to me. I willed something–anything–because I’m a doer and I complete tasks goddammit. So I stared at the white sheet and her blue lines and nothing. I was all, fuck you convenient technology. My pen makes love to this paper; fat-thumbing is a one night stand made humiliating obvious with the walk of shame. Therein lies the problem. I refuse to surrender.
Surrendering is when life teaches us lessons, when old things resonate in a new way. But it’s painful and messy and I’ve been so good at walking this tightrope, and I don’t even like heights but it’s safer up here than down there, yet here I am teetering, trying to catch my balance on the eve of the passing of the torch. I’ve nothing to offer except this chapter, and it’s not even mine to write.
My kids don’t know to stay away from yellow snow and I don’t know how to keep my distance from this flame of insecurity, or if I should embrace it because the messy is the surrender and the surrender is worthwhile.
Can I come home with you?