“No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!”
― C. JoyBell C.
I will try to start and end these posts with a quote. But no promises.
It’s Monday and I am frantically pounding out these words as I struggle to make all the jumbled mess of half thought through ideas form and congeal to make some sort of sense. I have started and stopped a half dozen different blogs. Each one trying to be something I thought the reader would want rather than what I really want to write. And each time, I stopped writing. Not because I wasn’t interested in what I was writing…strike that. It was because I was too interested in being the kind of writer I thought people wanted. Brilliant, witty, firmly planted in the soil of my convictions, hoping to grow a readership writing about shit I had no business writing about because the experience needed to actually write well about those topics was barely there and not seriously taken.
“Write about what you know” is a phrase I have heard and read so often I am beginning to associate it with the “P” word that I hated so much growing up-“Potential”. “You have so much POTENTIAL” they would tell me, frowning as they looked at my grades, wondering where my head was. I was an A B C student. I liked A’s…but they were never as important to me as they were to my parents. But that word, potential, was shoved down my throat for my entire school career…potential to get scholarships, potential to letter, potential to be something great…wait…why am I not already “great”? I wasn’t a bad kid. I participated in normal crazy teen aged antics, but I never got myself in so much trouble like some kids I knew. My brother was a track and cross country star and apple of my mothers eye. My sister was a straight A student who could do no wrong. I was the one who didn’t seem to fit anywhere…but I had “potential”.
Today I find myself uttering those same words to my children and I understand a parents frustration, MY parent’s frustration, in knowing how much your child can accomplish only to watch them seemingly waste it on frivolous things. But…I haven’t been a child in almost 20 years so perspectives have changed. But sitting here, I realize something that I never realized before. My fear of not meeting their expectations, my fear of their belief in my “potential” strangled me in a way that only hurt me. And I still do things like this today.
My point is all of this is that I will no longer write so that I might please a set group of readers who have beliefs or expectations about my potential as a writer. I know I am a good writer. Now, I need to do what I love best and actually write.
“There are as many worlds as there are kinds of days, and as an opal changes its colors and its fire to match the nature of a day, so do I.”
― John Steinbeck