When I was young that was my daddy’s famous line when I was in trouble and he asked me, “Why did you do that?” or “Who did this?” I’d look at my feet and cowardly mumble, “I don’t know” to which he’d reply rhetorically “If you don’t know, who does know?” The question was usually yelled, for my daddy was not one from the softer side of Sears, if you know what I mean.
He’d leave the room with a door slam and that stupid question would sit with me, lingering in the dust storm he had blown up. As I’ve been trying to develop my blog the last few months, I just keep hearing my daddy ask me that question in my mind over and over.
Dammit Daddy! I still don’t know!
I will wholeheartedly admit, right out of the gate, that the idea of writing a blog kinda terrifies me.
The platform itself is wide open. There are no guidelines, and there are also too many guidelines. No limitations. No set formats or rules to follow. You can totally make it up to fit whatever you want to achieve or go at it with nothing to achieve.
Crap. I don’t know if I can work like this.
Much like I don’t know where to start when I walk into an overcrowded dress shop—it usually means I’ll walk right back out empty-handed and feeling overwhelmed. I’m the person you can take on an all day trip to the mall who will usually come home with nothing—ok, cinnamon pretzels. I’ll come home with cinnamon pretzels.
Walk me into the most decadent designer bakery in the trendiest place ever, and I’ll probably just walk through and say it “smells good.” Too many choices and I do not make for a productive relationship. Give me a choice between just two cupcakes, two couches, or two men’s colognes…oh hell…just two men…and I can make a decision, but load me up with too many options, and I freeze up (did you just read “buttload” in that sentence too? And by the way, it’s a real unit of measure, I had no idea. Look it up).
So for right now I cannot tell you what type of blog this will be—again, too many choices. And why must everything fit neatly into a box that someone else has designed? I don’t cook that way. I don’t love that way. I don’t think that way. I sure don’t imagine I can write that way.
An artist hired to design for a company, but then told she can only paint or draw pictures of dogs isn’t going to flourish at that job. And although she loves dogs, and she might stay there for a while to pay some bills out of necessity, her soul will not be nourished, and she will eventually leave. She’s not being allowed to express the joy, the beauty, the sadness or the ridiculous sense of humor life possesses through her artwork.
The creative outlet to this process is just that, taking some simple observation or experience and finding a unique aspect to it that is often hidden to some, but to a writer—and especially to me—it can leap out like a little, eye-rolling smart ass. It’s just a good state of mind I think—looking for the outrageous in some of life’s ordinary. And the more you look for it, the more life delivers it.
And then there’s the gnawing little voice in my head that says “Isn’t it arrogant of me to think that anyone wants to read what I write?” And I know that is what every writer in the world thinks. And I also know I just have to get over it. People will read it or they won’t. They’ll like it or they won’t. None of that can influence me.
Just like I had to get over the fact that perming my hair in 11th grade was a bad idea, and that no matter how much of a delicacy it’s considered, if you put smoked salmon on something I will not like it, and the fact that I will never look good in little flat sandals—I have duck feet (I had Ancestry.com do my DNA, and yes I am indeed 47.6% American wigeon duck). So Dolly Pardon and I agree on this point —heels are the only way to go.
My closest friends think I have a rather salty side—personally, I prefer to think of it more as somewhat…brackish. I’m really not a negative person, but I do find great humor in the darker side of life at times. In fact over the years, that humor is probably the only thing that has kept me from ripping all my hair out with my bare hands and setting fire to it in the sink. See? Not negative.
A speaker at my writing club once told us that the best writers let their stories lead them, not the other way around. So here lies a leap of faith for me (imagine that little, eye-rolling smart ass again). By letting up on the reins, I’ll hope that life will lead me in the direction it wants me to write and provide me with the ability to draw out something entertaining or enlightening lying just out of view… please God…
There are writers who love to write, and there are writers who have to write.
My desire is that through the first, I will eventually become the second.
And if not, to my family and friends– you better watch out because I will have no other option but to write about you. I’m sorry, but if you didn’t want me to write about you, then some of you should have behaved better, including you Daddy.