I was a young girl at the time, maybe 10 or 11. We were crowded in my grandparents’ small home, for a reunion perhaps, or maybe the traditional family gathering after a funeral. My mother introduced me to a great uncle or he might have been a distant cousin a few times removed. “This is Lisa,” my mom said, “She loves to write. She’s going to be a writer someday.”
I flushed with pride at this announcement and the great uncle/distant cousin was duly impressed. He told my mom about his grown daughter whose writing skill was such that even her letters home, though filled with ordinary news, were a delight to read. I aspired then to become that sort of writer who could render even the most mundane of topics interesting by the sheer force of her writing voice.
What my mom said was true. I did love to write and write I did. I scribbled away the hours (those not spent reading that is) seated on the floor of my bedroom, filling notebook after notebook with my writings, short stories mostly and those full of the melodrama and tragedy typical of the teenaged girl. I remember one story in particular ended with the suicide of the main protagonist, a troubled teenage girl.
Lest you get the wrong idea, I wasn’t troubled myself. Far from it. I, like so many teenagers, girls in particular, had a penchant for the dramatic. After all, my favorite novel at the time was Wuthering Heights so, yeah, the more tragic, the better.
I wrote then for the sheer love of writing, or, more specifically, for the sheer love of words. I liked creating emotion and expression by the careful choice of this word or that. It was, I suppose, a natural progression of my love for books. I read voraciously and I knew the power of words to not only inform but to evoke.
A few weeks ago I was chatting with a friend. We were talking about blogging, she considering joining the vast conversation that is the world of blogs. I shared with her some of my blogging struggles, how the medium has changed, how I’m not sure of my place or my voice, how branding now defines both blogs and bloggers, and how elusive my muse has become.
“But you write? You write because you love to write, don’t you? You like sharing part of your journey and you enjoy the conversation and friendship that you’ve found with other women? Isn’t that right?” my friend asked, her questions both rhetorical and eager in their expected affirmative answer.
My mother’s prognostication wasn’t fully realized; indeed, who could have foreseen all that technology would effect? I write, my friend is correct, but I am not the writer of my girlish dreams. I do not write anything of great import nor that commands a great audience. Rather than a blue Bic pen, I wrangle my thoughts via a keyboard. Instead of fanciful tragedy it’s truth and authenticity I want to communicate. I don’t stash my scribblings in a shoebox under the bed but publish them on the world wide web for whosoever will (that has an Internet connection) to read. My writing compulsion no longer produces hours upon hours of effort; rather any such compulsion itself has become intermittent at best, sometimes muffled by ambition and insecurity.
My confessions to my friend were genuine. I often think about blogging, more so than you would imagine and than probably is normal, about the why’s and wherefore’s and whether it isn’t all a colossal waste of time, of mine the blogger and yours the reader. This conversation with my friend reminded me of something I had lost: the joy of the writing itself.
I wrote as a girl because I loved it. It was a hobby, a pleasure. And I want to write, still, to blog as it were, for the same reason: because I love words and because I love the process of measuring them carefully, or not so carefully, weighing, thinking, searching for their proper expression. I want to write for the joy of it, because I love sharing my journey and I enjoy the friendship and conversation writing–blogging–has afforded.
So I write. I blog. Not daily, at times not even weekly, and no doubt there will yet be the occasional long silence, but, still, I write.