I was thinking about Facebook and Twitter today, and I realized that lately my writing consists of 1-2 sentences at a time. And with Fbook, these sentence-long blips are in the third-person. As in 'Samantha is blogging about twittering'.
So to be honest, it's a bit of a challenge to face that big white screen and start writing on my blog again. I think that's where my storyteller nature is going to help kick-start the writing. My parents always told my sister and I stories when we were growing up. Stories about their childhood, stories about their family and friends, stories about my sister and I.
My dad always told great stories about hanging out on the boardwalk in Coney Island with his friends, getting into trouble. Hmmm, must have gotten my troublemaker streak from him. Alot of the stories he told me I still tell to my friends. How he broke his nose 4 times (yes, 4 times!). One nose break was when he was walking really fast with his hands in the front pockets of his jeans and he tripped. His jeans were so tight he couldn't get his hands out fast enough, and fell flat on his face. I used to go ice skating all the time when I was younger, and he never wanted me to skate with my hands in my pockets for fear I had inherited the nose-breaking gene. (I haven't so far, knock on wood).
My mom told stories about hiding grass snakes in the root vegetable bin at her parent's house and scaring her babysitter. She also told a fair amount of stories about climbing out of her bedroom window when she was a teenager. Boy, both of my parents were troublemakers! Hey, at least I never climbed out of my bedroom window.. way too high, I would have fallen in the front hedges. Ouch.
Plenty of the stories I still tell are from when I was growing up, like the time when my best friend Andy and I decided to have root beer floats. We walked from school to my house, and grabbed the half gallon of vanilla ice cream that was in the freezer. Then we walked to his house, and he had me pay him 10 cents for a 2 liter bottle of root beer. We proceeded to consume way more root beer floats than a person should consume in a sitting, and as I recall neither one of us was sick. I love the fact that I supplied the ice cream and I paid him for the soda. Andy, always an entrepreneur.
And while I always tell stories, I chose to study poetry when I was in college. Being a wordy person (if you've ever gotten a voicemail from me you know what I'm talking about), I have always liked how poetry can express so much in so few words. Which, interestingly enough, brings me right back to Twitter. Expressing myself in short bursts, as opposed to novel-length stories.
Anywho, I'm looking forward to writing more. I've been going through my occasional existential crisis about what I want to be when I grow up, and I think writing will help me find my own voice again. I've also been doing a huge amount of baking the past few days, which also really helps center me. But boy, I have too many treats at home now. Better give some of it away!
I was a creative writing major in college, am a total journal junkie, always have one of my favorite pens on hand, I'm one of those folks who loves the way a good pen glides across a piece of paper. Don't get me wrong, I like computers (and even typewriters - yeah, that's the old-school writer talking)... but I miss writing people and seeing my own handwriting.
The cool folks at Fontifier have come up with a solution... make a font that is your own handwriting! Way cool, huh? I haven't finished mine yet, but am looking forward to seeing how it works. And frankly, $9 is a bargain!
Those of you who know me know that I read WWdN every day, it is my homepage at work and at home. Recently, Wil and his family lost Felix and Sketch, 2 of their dearly loved kitties. Vet bills have piled up, and he's got a great fundraiser going on his site. Please head on over to his site and do what you can... you get an autographed copy of a great book, and you'll be helping out a great guy and his family.
We know how fresh and original is each man, even the slowest and the dullest. If we come at him right, talk him along, and give him his head, and at last say, What do you want? (Or if the man is very old, What did you want?) every man will speak his dream. And when a man talks from his heart, in his moment of truth, he speaks poetry.
So as a friend suggested a few weeks back, I picked up a copy of The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. The quote on the front of my copy is from Esquire magazine, and it states "A vital gem... a kick in the ass." If you're a writer, a musician, a playwright, a poet, or a filmmaker... get this book. If you're a teacher, a student, an accountant, a CEO, a baseball player... get this book. You know, just get this book no matter what you do, because everything in there applies to anyone who lives and breathes and dreams of the possibility of something better. Here's a passage that has gotten me thinking lately, and keeps me working on the children's book I'm writing while I have some time off.
Resistance feeds on fear. We experience Resistance as fear. But fear of what?
Fear of the consequences of following our hearts. Fear of bankruptcy, fear of poverty, fear of insolvency. Fear of groveling when we try to make it on our own, and of groveling when we give up and come crawling back to where we started. Fear of being selfish, of being rotten wives or disloyal husbands; fear of failing to support our families, of sacrificing their dreams for ours. Fear of betraying our race, our 'hood, our homies. Fear of failure. Fear of being ridiculous. Fear of throwing away the education, the training, the preparation that those we love have sacrificed so much for, that we ourselves have worked our butts off for. Fear of launching into the void, of hurtling too far out there; fear of passing some point of no return, beyond which we cannot recant, cannot reverse, cannot rescind, but must live with this cocked-up choice for the rest of our lives. Fear of madness. Fear of insanity. Fear of death.
Those are serious fears. But they're not the real fear. Not the Master Fear, the Mother of all Fears that's so close to us that even when we verbalize it we don't believe it.
Fear That We Will Succeed.
That we can access the powers we secretly know we possess.
That we can become the person we sense in our hearts we truly are.
This is the most terrifying prospect a human being can face, because it ejects him at one go (he imagines) from all the tribal inclusions his psyche is wired for and has been for fifty million years.
We fear discovering that we are more than we think we are. More than our parents/children/teachers think we are. We fear that we actually possess the talent that our still, small voice tells us. That we actually have the guts, the perseverance, the capacity. We fear that we truly can steer our ship, plant our flag, reach our Promised Land. We fear this because, if it's true, then we become estranged from all we know. We pass through a membrane. We become monsters and monstrous.
We know that if we embrace our ideals, we must prove worthy of them. And that scares the hell out of us. What will become of us? We will lose our friends and family, who will no longer recognize us. We will wind up alone, in the cold void of starry space, with nothing and no one to hold on to.
Of course this is exactly what happens. But here's the trick. We wind up in space, but not alone. Instead we are tapped into an unquenchable, undepletable, inexhaustible source of wisdom, consciousness, companionship. Yeah, we lose friends. But we find friends too, in places we never thought to look. And they're better friends, truer friends. And we're better and truer to them.