The last few days have bought me gifts that lift me a little, that strengthen me. I am filled always with deep-seated ambiguities: A desire to write battles with the conviction that I am — if not a terrible writer — at least little better than average. My journey into blogworld intensifies the latter conviction. So much beautiful writing, so many electronic pages of print in which the words disappear to be replaced by place and person, by delight and despair, by images that curl up in the corners of my mind like sleeping cats and awaken hours later, calling me back to admire them. And then I think, Dale wrote this, Paula did, Stella, Old Girl of the North Country, Loren, Patry, my very first blog-friend, Diana — and many others, too numerous to name. They share their writing and photography and art with the world, and they say what I would say, but so much better. And I hesitate to write, sure I can never match up.
Stop fishing for compliments, my mother would say, but such is not my intention. I just want to say what ails me on those days I don’t write (apart from being too busy, too tired, too caught up in life, apart from having to make a choice between reading and blogging, or taking my daughter to a movie and writing). I am critical, deeply so, of everything I write.
But in the last few days, three moments of grace have dropped into my life. First, Esperanca loved her book. It’s not finished, really, because the story got too big to be captured in one volume, so I planned a sequel — or two or three. “Write the rest,” Esperanca said two nights ago. “Please!” So I will.
Second, I got an email from Patry of Simply Wait, asking for entry into the private area of my long-abandoned Blog-City blog. Patry’s been dealing with health issues the past few months, and I’ve followed her journey as she has blogged about it, amazed at the precise beauty of each entry, and the grace with which she withstands challenges. I have prayed for her every night, too, sent om manis as I do to all those who struggle, a silent well-wisher. Her email request to gain access to Blog-City lit up my day. I have admired her writing since I first started blogging, and that she asked to enter the site, to read my work, warmed me thoroughly.
And third, Dale of Mole commented a couple of blog entries ago, asking me where he could get a copy of Esperanca’s book. He’d looked on Lulu.com, he said, and couldn’t find it. I have a long list of blogs I read regularly, that I subscribe to on Bloglines. Dale doesn’t do Bloglines, so I get Blogarithm’s “Blogmail” instead, just for Dale, so that as soon as he updates, I can read him. I always want to comment, as with Patry, but find myself frozen too often because others have said what I might say better, and you can only leave so many (0)s on one person’s site!
His request for Esperanca’s book carried me through several days of delight — OK, is still carrying me! Someone who isn’t related to me — hmmmm, that doesn’t work, given that those who ARE related to me have no interest in my writing — let’s see, someone who isn’t obligated to me in some way actually went looking for my little children’s book, willing to spend money on it, and then asked me where to get it when he couldn’t find it. That’s amazing. Inspiring. Delightful. The best Christmas gift ever.
And so I decided on some New Year’s Resolutions. First, I’m going to keep working on the series. I have fun with it, and Esperanca likes it, and maybe others will too. Second, and perhaps more significantly, I’m going to release Esperanca’s book so people can find it and maybe even buy it. And third, I’m going to (try to) stop harassing myself about how terrible my writing is.
Before I release Esperanca’s book, though, I need to do just a little work with it. I was rushing to get it ready for her for Christmas, and I “published” it (just three copies) with some typos and a couple of confusing spots. I’m going to go back and fix those up. Last night I reread and fixed the first four chapters, and my goal is to work on it every day till it’s done, then open up the link on Lulu so that people can actually check it out and perhaps buy it if they want. (Thank you, Dale!)
Working on the book taught me something about myself as a writer. The first few chapters, written in Ireland three years ago, had to be significantly revamped to incorporate Esperanca as the hero of the story. The major revisions made the writing feel clunky to me. Too many glitches. The next few were written sporadically, often weeks or months apart. The last half of the book (or thereabouts) was written between September and December, on a fairly regular schedule most days, even if it was only 15 or 20 minutes a day. And the last half is way smoother. Once I got into the groove, the words flowed more fluently. Clearly I need a routine, discipline, and a goal. And that’s my final resolution: To work every day on writing, one way or another. To accept the gift given to me by recent quiet readers of my blog who have asked for entry to my password-protected posts, and by all those who read and comment, or read and don’t comment, and by two of my favorite bloggers, Patry and Dale. Thank you.