Little did I know, when I first started this blog, what it would come to mean to me. What it would do for me. How it would help me, as a writer. But while I was having my morning coffee a couple of days ago, I had an epiphany. I’ll tell you about it in a minute. First, a quick story.
I’m writing a book. It’s about my mother, at a time when her health was declining; and she needed my help. About a year ago I was having lunch with a fellow writer. One thing led to another. I won’t bore you with all the details, but she highly recommended her editor.
At the time I was at the half way point. It was a draft, not yet polished. Still, the editor suggested I send her twenty-five pages. When she got back to me, she insisted I wasn’t being honest. “Where’s the resentment?” she asked. “Don’t tell me you weren’t angry with your mother”. Truth is, I wasn’t.
If she’d asked for more pages she would have found out what had upset me. There were feelings I shared. Just not the ones she wanted me to feel. Turned out she hated her mother; and projected her own feelings on to me. Clearly we weren’t a good fit.
Since then I’ve done more work on my book. A few months ago I had a breakthrough. Important enough to stop writing and go back. To re-read and re-evaluate what could stay. What should change. What had to go.
And the other day I had another one. Even bigger. Even more important. And it’s all to do with this blog.
When I started “Three Hundred Sixty-Five” , it was as a challenge. To myself. To write every day, for a year. On any subject. I’ve had lots of blogs but I’ve had no fixed schedule. And there’s always been a ‘theme’. My love of film. My travels. An opportunity to ‘rant’. My profession. This latest blog is the first time I’m speaking freely, about anything and everything. Every single day.
It was innocuous enough at the start. Describing what I love about peaches. And garden-grown tomatoes. Cravings. Sacred holidays. My pets. Changing seasons. Not particularly profound, but hopefully interesting. And worth reading. As time has passed, though, my content has changed. Evolved. More and more, I’m opening up. Soul searching. Digging deeper and deeper into my feelings. Becoming more ‘personal’. Examining myself. Questioning myself. Seeking.
What I’m learning is, it feels really good to ‘expose’ myself in this way. It’s cathartic. Cleansing. Human. And real. No wonder these are the posts that resonate most with you; and generate the most feedback. And interesting, and meaningful, conversations.
Which leads me back to what that editor said. I now know she wasn’t totally wrong. At least in terms of challenging me, on how ‘authentic’ I was being. I now know there are areas of my life, my relationship with my mother, my reactions to certain events, I had completely ignored. Inner most feelings I had left out. More self-examination in the last two days has revealed why:
Concern I’d hurt some feelings. Discomfort with ‘letting it all hang out’. Unwillingness to confront myself. Not guilt, though. At least I don’t think so. Not yet, anyway. It’s only been a couple of days. Ask me again in a week.
All I know is, I am totally pumped. Right now I want to trash everything I’ve written and start over. That may be a tad too dramatic, so I’m giving it a chance to percolate for a bit. There will be some substantial changes, of that I’m sure. All for the better.
Without this blog, I’m not sure I would ever have figured it out. I’d like to think I would have. But honestly, I don’t know. In some ways 365 is turning out to be a testing ground for me. I am becoming a much better writer.
Partly because I’m writing every day. Partly because I’m experimenting with style and voice and emotion. Partly because of what I read on your blogs, examining how and why you inspire me. Partly because of what you say, when you comment on my posts. And partly because I’m no longer afraid to bare all. To let you ‘in’.
Who’da thunk it?