Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Say cheeeese...

The baby girl had her first "professional" picture taken today!
And yes, I am still using Chuck E Cheese for all of our formal photographs.
She was smiling and laughing the entire time we were there. So take that *insert name here* portrait studio chain! No waiting, no uncomfortable posing, no fake smiling, no 150 portraits package that ends up in a drawer, and no tantrums. Never at Chuck's!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Too much pressure

My poor blog. My poor, neglected and lonely blog. This is the third one I have begun and abandoned and I have been trying to understand why that is so. I could use the excuse of no time to write but that would be a lie. Yes, I am busy like all moms are, but I seem to have enough time to manage my virtual farm on Facebook and update the masses with my status many times a week. Have I lost my passion for writing? Not likely. I have been writing creatively since I was a child. My mother loves to tell the story of how she discovered my hidden diary and in true mom fashion read it. I had written a story about ten diary pages long, about a road trip I took to go and discover myself in New York. It was an exciting and romantic story of a group of friends and their cross country adventures along the way, including details of my relationship with my boyfriend. Did I mention I was eight when I wrote this story? Needless to say my mom was less enthused about my talent as a writer and more worried that I had written such an adult tale.
I also remember writing and illustrating a children's story about an outer space alien named Fuzzy. Or maybe it was Fuzzo. Either way nothing ever became of that and a few years later my mom saw a similar toy being sold in the stores, which pretty much sums up a lot of my life. I spent countless hours in my room writing really bad rhymes that eventually turned into some decent poetry. When I was fifteen, I even added "write a book before I turn 40" to my list of lifetime goals as motivation for me to keep writing. I have always loved putting my thoughts onto paper and somewhere in my last year of high school, I met a teacher who also enjoyed what I had to say. It was my advanced placement English teacher, Mr Pedersen, who wrote on paper after paper that he really enjoyed my writing and his only complaint was that I was not in class enough for him to read more. I felt validated and I wondered if I could get further validation by publishing my words.
This is when the pursuit of my first approval letter began. There was no Internet at the time so I began researching writing magazines and do it yourself publishing books. They all said something different; write a chapter and then send that in, or don't send a chapter in but instead describe your idea for your book in 250 words or less, or even don't send anything at all and just explain the genre you would like to write in and what your background is in that genre. Some said take a writing course, some said get a degree, some said enter contests, and all of them said expect rejection.
And I believe this is where I got off the publishing your first novel train. I am not and never have been a big fan of rejection and from what I was reading I should expect to be rejected many, many, many times before anyone would even consider me as a serious author. Over the years I have had many people tell me that they enjoy my writing and I appreciate the applause. Many have also suggested that I write that book. But I think the pressure of producing and the fear of being told my writing sucked, kept me from allowing my passion to turn into something larger. What if all those people were wrong and I really had no ability? What if no one enjoyed what I wrote? I believe it is these same fears that have kept me from being an active blogger. By focusing on becoming a published writer I sucked out all the joy I got from writing in the first place. And by focusing on what everyone else thinks I have come to dislike the practice of blogging. But that was then.
Like I wrote in my introduction, I write to unclutter my mind. Writing has allowed me to process my past and subsequently move on to my present. It has given me an outlet for feelings too big or scary to speak out loud and it has given me a written record of how far I have come in life. I have written for my husband who loves everything I write and I have written for my family. Most everything else I have written was to make myself laugh or cry or think. I will always write and I will always love it whether anyone ever reads a single word of it again. And rather than end like Captain Ahab, I am waving goodbye and Godspeed to my white whale. Life is too short to be creating my own obstacles.