After a decent start with blog posts at least once a week, I have been reluctant lately to post again, and so I’m sitting down at the keyboard to figure out why, prompted in part by a WordPress Weekly Challenge asking bloggers to write about why we write. I think I have the shape of my reluctance, but it’s this vague amorphous sense that I can’t quite articulate. Whenever that happens, I start writing to see what comes out. Here goes….
This little writing hiatus is not for lack of encouragement. Quite the contrary, actually. There’s been lots of encouragement, which I guess has been an eye opener. Hold up. People are actually reading my thoughts. Lawyers from my professional life. Fellow military spouses. People I don’t even know. But what did I expect, publishing a blog? It’s what a blogger wants, right? Riiiiight. Yeah, I didn’t really think about what that would actually feel like, probably because I didn’t really think anyone would actually read what I wrote.
And the hiatus is not for lack of material; there’s plenty of stuff scratching to get out. I suppose my hesitancy is due to lack of courage to open the door. What am I afraid of? Hubris perhaps. Scorn. Ridicule. Contempt even. I am afraid of being made to seem a simpleton, a dreamer, a narcissist. Who am I to speak when others remain silent? Are my experiences so unique? Of course not. Maybe that’s the point.
Why write publicly in the first place? To connect. To speak the thoughts others keep silent and in so doing, confirm to the reader that she is not alone, an anomaly. Someone else out there in this wide world thinks that way too. I write in a futile attempt to describe indescribable feelings using the meager symbols we call letters. And why share these thoughts and feelings? Why connect? To remember that we humans are all on the same journey, regardless of race, gender, nationality, or economic status. We all love, fear, hunger, seek, find. We are all born from a woman’s womb and we all die. In between, we all get to experience this fantastically complicated human life. Whatever our differences, we’re all here on this earth together, now.
I am afraid that some of what I write will cause a potential employer to not hire me. Law firms are not traditionally bastions of progressive thinking. Huckleberries falling from the sky and dead relatives sending messages? Really? We’re not hiring this chick. She’s a wackadoodle. I get that. It’s a risk I take. I attended a panel recently discussing the interplay between writers’ day jobs and their writing lives. I asked how a writer could keep her writing separate, if it could potentially harm her day job. “Use a pen name,” I was told. In this era of social media when Google wants to link all of my split personalities together, I cannot figure out how to keep it all separate. I’m not that tech savvy. How LinkedIn knows to recommend that I connect with my daughter’s classmate’s mother’s husband, whom I’ve never met, is beyond me. Keeping my pen name separate from my real name seems a lost cause. This point was driven home after my Serendipity in Seattle post was picked up on Facebook by a professional colleague and reposted within a national military spouse attorney group I’m involved with. Some members of this group hold senior level positions of influence in my professional world. And now they know, should they care to look, some of my thoughts on military life and serendipity. Fantastic. But I put it out there in the first place. Why?
Maybe because I cannot not. Maybe because I am a writer at heart and that’s what writers do. We bare our souls, consequences be damned. We put it all out there for readers to judge, with the hope that the symbols we string together will connect us as we journey together through this fantastically complicated human life.
I write to hear my soul.