The first time I remember actually writing MY thoughts, my feelings, getting them out of my head, out of my heart, and down on paper, I was eight years old. My parents were in the midst of their divorce. We had moved four hours away from every friend. Every family member. New neighborhood. New school. A stepdad. A stepmom. It all happened so quickly. It was scary. Unknown.
I have an uncle who is a songwriter. I was at my grandparent’s farm, he got his guitar out and said he wanted to sing me a new song he had written. I will never forget that day. Windows open, breeze blowing in that old house, with walls that had seen and heard so much life. So much joy. So much heartbreak. It was just the two of us. He sang me a song about how they don’t make hearts like they use to. About his parents and how strong their love was, but how hearts just aren’t built that way anymore. I have never asked him if that song was inspired by my parent’s divorce. I assume it was, to some degree, at least. That song went on to be included on a Diamond Rio album and every now and again, when requested, he’ll sing it.
As I think back, it was that moment, when I realized that I had so many words inside of ME, that I wanted to get out. And so, as an eight year, I wrote “songs”. Really, it was just a bunch of words on lined paper that rambled, but I remember giving them to my dad, proud as a peacock, and telling him I was a songwriter. I hope he burned them. He probably saved them. They were terrible. But, THAT was the beginning. That was when I took all of the confusion, sadness, heartache that I was feeling, and put pen to paper.
My great-grandpa was a medic in World War I. He kept a journal every day he was away at war. I have a typewritten copy of that journal. I have read it over and over again through the years. When I was a history teacher, I would use that journal when teaching about the Great War, as a primary source. It is chilling. Beautiful. Haunting. Mundane. Intriguing. It is, I believe, how he kept his sanity. He was farmer. He was a teacher. He was a corpsmen. He was a man in love with a woman named Lydia, a name he wrote was “the most beautiful name in the world.” He was a writer. A storyteller.
Just as I feel I have grit and resolve in my DNA, I feel words also reside there. There is a gene we must share, my uncle, my great-grandfather, even a few of my cousins. The words are there, in our heads, our hearts, in our guts, stirring our souls until we MUST get them down on paper.
All of this to say, this blog is a year old. ONE YEAR.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY LITTLE BLOG!
I have written notes in my gray journal that is coffee stained and has arrows and scribbles and things marked out and checked off all throughout it, FOR A YEAR NOW.
I have experienced sweaty armpits every time I hit “publish”. I have felt more vulnerable, naked, exposed than ever before in my life, as I rip off band-aids and reveal more and more of MY story. This is not fiction. This is me.
Writing is not easy. It is not even very much fun. It is challenging and hard and exhausting and sometimes it takes every last ounce of my brain power. I can’t even say that I thoroughly enjoy it. Isn’t that the thing though, with writing? It’s a chore. It’s a duty. A calling. It’s cleaning out the refrigerator and ridding it of all the stuff that needs gone from it so you can fill it back up. The process can be awful. It’s painful. But, after it’s over, you feel so much relief. You feel lighter. You feel detoxed. Purged. IT IS THE MOST FREEING THING I’VE EVER DONE.
You ride the high of getting it out of your system for as long as you can, and then, there it is again…that nagging feeling. Those ideas. The words. It starts out subtle, and then, it gets louder and louder and louder until there is no choice but to SIT down and WRITE.
I have written 28 blog posts. Approximately 30,000 words. I am a storyteller and, life has handed me a lot of material. I do not write fluff. I refuse to publish something once a week just to check it off the list. What I write is real. Honest. Raw. I. AM. A. WRITER. I have never been more sure of that in my life. Whether my stories reach a hundred people, a thousand people or never leave the pages of my journal, doesn’t change that fact. It is a blessing and a curse. I think any writer would probably agree with that.
I am so proud of this space. This little nook I created to share MY words with all of you who read them. I am grateful, humbled and still a little in awe, that anybody takes the time to read them at all. I have so much to learn about writing. I have so much more to share. I look forward to the journey, however painful and painstaking it may be. Ha!
Do YOU have a favorite post? If so, which one is it? I would love to know!:)
P.S. If ya wanna listen to They Don’t Make Hearts (Like They Use To), here ya go!
As always, thanks for reading!