When I reread my last post, I got the sinking feeling that I’d allowed myself to commit the one blogging sin that I vowed never to commit: writing primarily about myself. Way too many “I’s.” Feeling slightly redeemed by having invited you to write in, I felt even more grateful that you shared such lovely anticipations. When I started this blog, I made a promise to myself to try to write only what is worth reading, and for me that is all about what connects with others. Because honestly, the details of a single person’s life are just not that interesting. Too many bloggers forget this, and I semi-forgot it myself because I was feeling a little lazy. And when we are lazy in life, it shows up in writing. In fact, when we are lazy or distracted or just a tad too self-involved, it shows up everywhere. As John Ruskin wrote, “A man wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small parcel.” But then something wonderful came along and inspired me… Continue reading “A Very Small Parcel”
On this beautiful sunny midwest morning (hey, do I sound like I’m from California??), I had the joy of speaking about therapeutic writing to a group of folks at Generations of Hope, a very cool multi-generational community. At Generations of Hope,”children adopted from foster care find permanent and loving homes, as well as grandparents, playmates and an entire neighborhood designed to help them grow up in a secure and nurturing environment.” This morning at Hope Meadows, we talked about writing, about how it needs compassion about self-permission in order to thrive. Going through the world with an open and watchful heart really helps too. And then they asked me the question everyone asks about ongoing writing which is, “How do I find time to do it?” Here is the secret to answering this question…
Well, it’s only taken me 7 months to encourage people to read my blog, and along the way I’ve learned that really, everyone has a blog, and if you are not up to the nanosecond on “social media,” you’re doomed to obscurity. So, I’m asking for your help in helping me to “promote” my blog (but ONLY if you feel like it’s worth promoting).
Here are very simple ways to do this: you can of course encourage subscribers (they have to do this themselves, you can’t do it for them), you can click on any of the “share” buttons at the end of each post (email, Facebook, Tweet, share etc.), and I also think there’s a button on the top of each post the says “Like” with a little star next to it.
Any of these things will help me inch along in the world of social media networking, and would be much appreciated. And if there’s anything else that I can be doing to make my blog more worth promoting in that world, please, please, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I would LOVE the advice!
And P.S. Maybe when we get to 20,000 views, we can have a virtual party! We can all eat Baskin Robins at the same time!!!
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the many thought-provoking, heart-felt, meaningful questions that you sent in. And if you didn’t send one yet, it’s not too late! Email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure your question gets posted anonymously. I noticed several themes in what people wrote, and some of are them are: will I ever feel like I am enough? Who am I really? Is this all there is? When will I find meaning in my life? There were a bunch of other that I definitely want to get to (esp. the one about keeping one’s journals: YES!!!), but today I’m going to start with the question: will we ever feel like we are enough? Here is the answer: No.
Happy November, my friends! Now, before I start, I need to say up front that this post is going to upset my mom, who, as my mom and my first official blog subscriber, deserves special consideration. But you know, I’m over 40 and all, and can decide what to do with my own body, even though my mom always insists on coming into dressing rooms with me and checking things out (don’t deny it, Ma’am–we were in Marshalls together not too many months ago and they ain’t no spacious dressing rooms up in there. I saw what you got hanging out and you saw what I got). AND she was going to find out at Thanksgiving anyway, because my sophisticated world-travelling parents are coming to see us out here “on the prairie,” as my father calls it (i.e. one of them there “fly-over” states, so we’re gonna try real hard to pick the straw out our teeth and kick them chickens out the yard so we can all have a good old turkey day together. But anyway, this is a good story. So here we go.
One of the most common pieces of writing advice is to “write what you know.” It makes sense on one level, because the most compelling writing is typically the most authentic. This advice has never worked that well for me though, because my first reaction is to immediately decide that I don’t know anything, and my second is to feel irritated and think, “If you already know something, why would you need to write about it?” So with that not-quite-a-disclaimer disclaimer, I’ve decided to write about something that I know absolutely nothing about and yet feel very attracted to, and that is: living as an athletic person. To that end, I’ve made a little list of 10 things to keep in mind if you are not an athletic person and wish to try being one.
your brain out.
Please forgive me.
But now I can make stew
out of you.
In Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, Anne Lamott quotes Lenny Bruce: “If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.”
My respect for Anne Lamott was enormous before I started this Lenten blog, and now it’s pretty much expanded to such a measure that no word feels big enough, like numbers and the federal debt. It’s HARD to write about spiritual issues, especially once you get past the easy-to-say stuff that is really more like “spirituality lite:” having compassion, being nice to others, and generally making an effort to be a good person.
One of the major disadvantages of getting a Ph.D. in Literature is that any pure love of reading that may have led you to make the ridiculous choice to enter a Ph.D. program in the first place has been leached out of you by the time you have crawled through the desert of writing a dissertation. You give your life to the process for years, and then you come to your dissertation defense, shriveled up like a frightened little prune, and when they tell you that you have “passed,” you skitter away, obsequious and relieved, most likely jobless, and vaguely aware that you should feel happier but clearly don’t.
Good writers seem to know a lot about neuroses. Anne Lamott, for example, is so exactly right when she describes her students’ fears about being writers because she is smart, observant, and has experienced them all herself: “[They] want to know why they feel so crazy when they sit down to work, why they have these wonderful ideas and then they sit down and write one sentence and see with horror that it is a bad one, and then every major form of mental illness from which they suffer surfaces, leaping out of the water like trout—the delusions, hypochondria, the grandiosity, the self-loathing, the inability to track one thought to completion, even the hand-washing fixation, the Howard Hughes germ phobias. And especially, the paranoia” (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life).