Creating the space to write has been a struggle for me ever since I first discovered that writing was something for which I had both an affinity and ability. Like many things I now appreciate, this connection happened only after reaching adulthood. It came about when a marketing internship I held for a few months lead to me composing a few blog posts about the Tour de France in an effort to add content to the online community my boss was building. I thought nothing of it, I was simply doing my job, but a few days after posting my boss casually mentioned that a colleague of his who “knows these things” read my babble and thought the writing was good. Who knew? I didn’t. Prior to that my writing career consisted of hastily written school papers and doodled nonsense passed as neatly folded notes to friends.
So blogging… this thing that certainly didn’t exist in any sort of friendly fashion prior to my university years, and even in college was still a mystery to most. I guess I decided to try it, first setting up a Blogger account through which I wrote all of three posts in as many weeks, one of which discussed the strength of our fandom for the Florida Gators and another of which bemoaned the maintenance of hair free legs. Truly epic stuff my friends. My dear Dad provided more praise and I was feeling lovely about this developing hobby, but then it died. As a childless woman working a part time job, it’s a wonder I found time to do anything at all, let alone write a few paragraphs about my high brow interests and opinions. I couldn’t allow anything to interfere with marathon viewings of the Sopranos or…um… what the hell did I do back then?? I didn’t work 40 hours per week, I didn’t have children, I didn’t have more than a thousand square feet of yardless townhouse to maintain, I wasn’t part of any sort of group or club or organization. WHAT DID I DO? I can’t even fathom the endless minutes available to me and what pile of meaningless fodder I filled them with. Point being, back then, I was fully setup for space to blog and back then, I didn’t.
But back then I didn’t work 40+ hours per week, and back then I didn’t have kids or a house or a fabulous circle of friends with whom I partook in all sorts of activities and endeavors. Back then I had little happening in my life that I deemed worthy of interweb discourse and so I lacked what every writer, artist, creator needs – inspiration. Of course with time came changes that created a more fulfilling life, one where adventure in one shape or another was seemingly always on the horizon, and one that no longer lacked excitement, but instead, lacked time. Ain’t it funny how life works? TNSTAAFL. Google it.
I suppose I’ll give myself credit though for the fact that Elderland here has existed since 2009. Dry spells abound, and it seems with every passing year I become less likely to keep at it, but I’m grateful for every last word I’ve written because those words are memories and those memories mean everything. I think about writing nearly every day, frequently frustrated with myself for not figuring out how to make it happen. I make a million other things happen all the time, why not this?
Well. It’s happening now. So how?
I started journaling. Nothing serious. Random thoughts, stream of consciousness, to do lists, wishes and wants, kid quotes, rants and vents, goals, feelings and anything else that I feel like privately expounding into my phone. Yes, it’s an app. I figured if I was going to make this thing work so I could make the other thing work, I better make it as seamless as possible, and what’s with me more than my phone? The “other thing” being writing of course, because aside from the mental health benefits that I’ve only recently realized the possibility of, the decision to journal came from my supposition that if I could just start writing some fucking thing it would lead to writing other things, and with journaling there would be less pressure (from myself) for it to be anything eloquent so it would be the walking that leads to running. Energy begets energy, so why shouldn’t writing beget writing?
And then there’s Norah. My burgeoning student. A couple weeks ago I came home to a beaming 5.5 year old proud to present her first ever award: Extraordinary Effort & Growth in Writing. The swell in my heart upon receiving this news was overwhelming in the most wonderful of ways. Having been an oft awarded, high achieving student myself, I’ll be honest and say that my expectations for these two little Elders in terms of their school skills are a little on the lofty side. Of course I’ll be supportive and grateful as long as they are putting forth a solid effort, but I’m looking forward to every ounce of satisfaction I’ll glean from the moments when they excel. So there she was, a certified achiever in the field of forming sentences, and there I was procrastinating as fiercely as ever on putting a few words on the web. Motivational magic.
I’m trying! I’ll always try. And fail, and cuss, and forget and then come back for more. The benefits are many, and if nothing else, I aim to set for my children an example of determination – to show them that every goal is worth the work, no matter how many times you have to set it, and in the end, the simple act of writing it down can be a pretty big step toward success.
And lastly, for your reading pleasure, some sentences as recently written by future Pulitzer winner Norah Elder. There may be some room for improvement in her choice of punctuation, and in case you aren’t from around here, it’s Great Wolf Lodge…
“To mom, I cant wat for your berthday! I wont to go to grat woof loj on your berthday mom!”
“Dad can you have fun and play with me! Let mom play with Crosby at grat woof laj! Prity plees dad can you play with me at grat woof laj!”
“I love you mom! Can Gracie and Katie and Sylvie come to are berthday! I would reelee wunt to go to grat woof laj with my frends at my berthday!”
“I am so good at geting on purple.”
“I like yer shert dad.”
Take care. S.