Yesterday, my son was gifted with a red and blue egg, each protecting its own, little wad of silly putty. The first thing he did was smoosh the two globs together into a swirly purple mash, stretch them out into “yours” and “mine” ends, and then start walking across the kitchen with his lump, while I stood in place holding mine, worrying about all the pet hair and breakfast crumbs the putty would collect when it fell apart between us. What I saw, instead, was that silly putty can be thinned to a whisper through a room without losing the integrity of its intention.
As I unwrapped a Mother’s Day care package (a scarf for me in exactly my colors and a book for Theo by one of his favorite authors) sent to me by a beloved student-and-friend, my heart stretched like that silly putty across the house.
When I started blogging in 2006, it was a personal challenge designed to help me: 1. commit to a serious writing practice; and 2. find out if I actually had something to say every day, for a year. What I didn’t quite comprehend at the time was that I was entering public life in a way that would rewrite me permanently, chapter by chapter, year by year.
The truth is, I never expected anyone to read or find my blog–in fact, I was counting on it. I was so completely terrified of telling the truth about my life, in writing, for anyone and everyone to see, that I was surprised to find myself still alive and well on the other side, each time I clicked “Publish.” Five years since that first, life-threatening post, I have grown into the writing space I set out for myself when I decided to take myself seriously. The rigors of my daily writing practice organically expanded into: teaching online, authoring three books, launching an e-zine and multiple, new blogs and websites and more. Along the way, I have been communicating regularly and passionately with an ever-expanding, ever-delightful virtual community of writers, many of whom I share more intimate (and frequent) conversation with than the people in my “real” life–whatever “real” may be in this day and age.
I had no idea when I started blogging that I was entering the biggest and most uncharted relationship of my life: the one I have with you, dear reader.
In this glorious courtship of the written word, we can draw a dotted line between any two people/places/things and teach them how they resemble each other. This blog, along with its many predecessors, has taught me that we who write have a unique opportunity to tap those wellsprings of the universal human experience–and to soak in those baptismal waters together with gratitude and awe: We write! We discover! We don’t know shit! How lucky we are to be in this cosmic mosh pit together!
I had no idea just five short years ago how much would come back to me from readers–that people around the world would share their compassion, their wisdom, their humor, their stories, and etch into me new truths, nourish me with surprising perspectives, and even (blessedly) look out for me and for my son, as we have moved through our many initiations of life together.
You who have offered me with such grace your truest thoughts and your deepest dreams, you who have shared your fears, vulnerabilities, confusion, ambivalence, celebrations and successes, I am wealthy with your gifts. We’re all in this mystery together. How good it is to be traveling with you.
I’m wondering how you’re stretching your writing life these days, and what’s coming apart or coming together as a result? How have you “put yourself out there” and what have you learned from what has come back around to you?