I just went back and read a few of my essays and while some are still funny *pats self on back*, I really do like this misanthropic groove. I’m starting to think it has become an excuse.
The writing workshop did not solve all of my writing problems. But I did create a complete, mediocre essay that I probably can’t sell to anyone. It is complete, tho. That is something. So I took the workshop again for August.
One essay a month is hardly prolific, but it’s better than none.
The one I workshopped last month revisited the end of an old friendship with a critical eye. I let myself off the hook a little and put her back on it. The finished product implies a forgiveness (again) that is (still) not entirely true. I don’t know that I will ever think of her fondly. Maybe moving on doesn’t mean it ever stops hurting, just that it isn’t always at the front of your mind.
I feel like I should apologize for what I am writing, lately. My wise friend Chrissy Woj of Quirky Chrissy, (Doesn’t she have a happy colorful blog? You should check her out.) said something to me as we wandered around Disney a couple of years ago: There are bloggers who are also writers, and writers who are also bloggers. I started this trying to be a writer, one who plans each essay – what will be funny or sad, what point am I trying to make – before I start.
I have absolutely settled into being a navel-contemplating blogger. And there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just not the same voice. People who come here because I am funny (are there any left?) are bound to be a little disappointed, I guess? Was I ever funny enough for the absence to be noticed? Probably not. Who cares.
This month I am working on an essay about gardening as a metaphor for a struggling relationsh….hey! Wake up! It’s not that boring! Drink a red bull or something.
I’m focusing on being descriptive, in a way that might be more suitable for fiction, and fighting the voice that calls that “pretentious.” The same voice that calls my personal essays “overwrought” and “self-indulgent.” That tells me my political takes are blinded by privilege I’m too dumb to see, or irresponsible because I’m exposing my family to the wrath of the internet cesspool. That I’m too old to make any cultural observation of any relevance. That none of it is worth the effort, because did I ever really think this writing thing was going to pan out?
Also, should I ever get past the personal attacks, it hits me over the head with the nihilism stick and that sends me back to the bottom of the well with the basket. I’ve let that mouthy asshole who lives in my head really get their arms around my psyche.
I’m pretty sure I took a workshop so I could hear something positive from someone who had nothing to gain. I’ve focused so hard on drowning out the internal voice that is determined to crush me that I can’t hear anything else.
But maybe I’m doing this wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t be covering my ears so hard. Maybe I should start listening.
It’s become a habit to finish a thing, and then to let that voice tear it to shreds, and then I send it to the recycle bin, which I’m so glad isn’t an actual recycle bin because I’m pretty sure that kind of thing isn’t supposed to go there.
Maybe instead of covering my ears and shouting “It is not!!” which is exactly the kind of behavior that got me banned from Freddy’s Frozen Custard, I should just ask the voice to prove it. What part is pretentious? Would it be relevant to a more specific audience? Is this voice maybe just the “everyone” that I know I can never please? Is that Ricky Nelson “Garden Party” song stuck in your head now? Do you know who Ricky Nelson is? Neither did I until my mom told me about him, now shut up.
Lot-dah-dah-dah (lot-dah-dah-dah) Lot-in-dah-dah-dah…You see, ya can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself
Things are different, now. Once upon a time, a writer not being able to please everyone meant some hate mail that arrived ten days later, barely legibly scrawled on the back of a Kip’s Big Boy sack or a postcard of Mount Rushmore, or neatly typed and signed “Mrs. Milfred, Angry Christian,” and while it wasn’t fun, it wasn’t as scary, I don’t think.
Now they threaten you in ways that a normal human being should not even be able to consider without vomiting. They threaten to shoot you for supporting background checks to purchase guns. To rape you for wanting to hold rapists accountable. To murder your entire family for caring about other people and their families.
And the sheer number of people who do this is staggering. The internet has allowed me to build, insulate, paint, clear coat and climate-control a hatred of humanity that makes it difficult to see the good. Some days, it is impossible.
I write about this a lot, my hatred of people. Pretty sure that horse is tired of being brought back only to have to go through all that again.
Anyhow, it is time for me to stop this. It is also time for me to stop announcing I am going to stop this without actually stopping. It’s time to stop being my own worst frenemy.
I actually just wanted an excuse to sing “TELL ME WHYYYYY MY CAR IS IN THE FRONT YARRRRRD!” which is exactly the kind of behavior that got me kicked out of Silver Sneaker Body Blitz at the Y.
I am not in Silver Sneaker Body Blitz, there is no Silver Sneaker Body Blitz, you people will believe anything.
Onward. Upward. I have another eventful trip to Colorado coming up, also my birthday, I have little weekend jaunts planned…my oldest child is driving a car by himself…I have lots of things to write about and I don’t need anyone’s permission or approval. Who cares what they think, anyway? I GOT THIS.
Voice: *whispers* Climate change.