Okay, I am going to try this again. To get back into the groove of writing and posting to my blog. This came after daughter Liz gave me a “Come to Jesus” talk yesterday, calling me a “weenie” for not recognizing that what I write has value even if it is not always political.
A bit of background is in order.
You see I have posted a blog pretty much everyday since 2012, some memoir pieces, some flash fiction, a whole series of haiku (which more than a few people told me they hated) and a slew of basic “This is what happened today” journal pieces. I started this after seeing the value of writing 20 minutes a day with my students – forcing (many hated this as well) to write nonstop for 5,10, 15, or 20 minutes depending on where they were on the writing spectrum. I watched massive improvement over time in their writing simply from that timed writing. Greater fluidity, more confidence, more openness and also a willingness to jump into creativity. So, I decided I would officially and openly do the same with daily 20 minute timed writing blog pieces. I did this too because I knew that I was going to be presenting on the “20 Minutes a Day” method at a writing conference six months in the future and I wanted to have my daily blogging experience to draw from for my workshop presentation.
All went well from 2012 – 2018 when I started feeling like a fraud when I was posting my mundane, everyday experiences and thoughts in the midst of such political upheaval in our country. I felt that I needed and should weigh in on these events, lend my writer’s hand to what I saw happening all around me. I was angry, upset, freaked out as I saw our country shifting from the decent nation I believe we are to one where bigotry, hate and overall nasty behavior seemed to be “trumping” the latter. I wanted to shout from the rafters, swing from the chandeliers, race around every social media space I occupied with my horror and outrage. Yelling, screaming, maybe even name-calling. But…
You see, I have many people I call friends who happen to be Republicans. Many are from my rural hometown in Texas and I KNOW they are decent, kind, gentle and right-minded people who don’t deserve my holier than thou attitude. I know they do not respect our president’s bad behavior but believe some things have gone too far in our country and need pulling back. As a liberal Democrat, I know they do their best to put up with me and what they see as my “too far left” beliefs. Those people (many are my childhood friends) happen to be readers of my blog, and I know them down to their toes and love them. Many are also the people who let me know on a daily basis how much they appreciated having the chance to have a window in my world.
The result? I felt utterly disingenuous on my blog talking about scrubbing mouse poop out of our Airstream in the orange grove while seeing Rome burn next door. So, I stopped writing. I could say stopped blogging, but the truth is that it went beyond that. I stopped writing pretty much altogether.
Then recently, Ray suggested I take a Masterclass in poetry taught online by Billy Collins, which I did and I began to try my hand at sonnets, which I am still doing. And then Elizabeth, my middle daughter, sat me down yesterday and basically took a switch to me and whipped me, good and proper, for shirking my blogging duties at a time the world needs some different perspectives besides all-things political. “Everyone weighs on Facebook with what’s wrong with our country, Mom,” she said. “We need to read about things we all have in common as human beings, not just how everything in our country is going to shit.” She also pointed out that I am missing opportunities to educate others through my experiences. “You have a Mexican son-in-law, who you love,” she said, “and you’re going to Mexico more and more. How about telling people about those experiences so they can see first hand how they don’t have to be afraid of Mexicans or traveling in Mexico?”
I cried. I nodded. “Okay, I hear you, honey,” I said.
So, here I am. Back with you because I know we need each other, regardless of political beliefs. We need each other as human beings and we have so very much in common on a core level.
So, be prepared to endure some awkward poems from a novice, personal life antidotes, observations on the world around us (including politics from time to time), glimpses into my past, a tiny bit of flash fiction and a lot of talk about cleaning up mouse poop in our Airstream in the orange grove. I will do my best to stay true to my 20 minutes a day and trust that whatever I write will be a good enough offering.
Here’s to our shared humanity.
Thanks, Liz, for the ass-whooping.