Friday, January 24, 2014

When I've Failed as a Blogger

I don’t like to do things, unless I can do them well. I hate falling short of what should or could be. I hate conceding. I am not wired to quit.

But I think it’s time to admit that I've failed; I’m not a blogger.

I tried. I did my best to write as much as I could. I read the posts and the e-books and the articles that talked about Blog Titles and SEO (which I still don’t understand or even know what it is). I attempted to implement the advice for adding followers and readers and subscribers and building the all-powerful PLATFORM (because I’ll never ever publish a book without one – it’s a known fact).

I don’t add pictures that are taken from my 35mm camera. The ones on my blog are either Instagrams taken off an old iPhone, or they are from my talented friend Jennifer. They don’t show the white, sunlit walls of my impeccable house with gallery walls and well groomed children. No pictures of Hunter’s boots in sand/snow/puddles/grass.

I don’t engage on those hot button topics on Twitter. I used to follow them and try. But I’m not the one to battle and write out convincing arguments. I cannot craft well written and succinct treatises that can move and persuade. I’m a 9 on the Enneagram and I just want us all to get along.

I don’t have a newsletter and my blogging is about as infrequent as it can be. I don’t’ know which days and times are best for sharing my posts. I am too tired to do all the different link ups and synchroblogs and other things I tried so hard to participate in when I started.

I am blessed with some amazing friends. They are such talented writers and they are fantastic bloggers. I’m in awe of what they do. But I can’t do it.



Over the past six months I've battled. I've wondered what to do, how to do it. I've seen bloggers and writers I respect post some hurtful things. I've seen egos explode on Twitter. I've seen anger and hurt and cries for justice and hope and life all spoken at the same time, getting lost and hidden and I've just wanted to walk away.

I've stifled my words because it felt like a giant echo chamber and I don’t like adding to the noise. There are so many beautiful words out there fighting for breath……why add mine?


I live in a city and it is houses and buildings and streets and dirt all so close together that there isn't a lot of room to breathe. It’s loud and pressed in and unrelenting. But I realize my breath comes from typing out words on a screen – here is where my lungs expand and find the air I need. Here the sun shines and the breeze is clean and crisp. The space is wide and expansive and there is room for me. There is room for you.


From A Shared Lens 


I admit I've failed as a blogger, but I’m still a writer.

So I’ll keep blogging. Infrequently or frequently will depend on my mood, depend on my time. I’ll blog when I want to share the beauty that surrounds me. I’ll blog when I see my girls look up at the clouds and talk about God. I’ll blog when I look out on the lake, listening to crashing waves while the sand warms my feet.  I’ll blog when there are more babies shot in my city and my heart is bursting because I’m just so tired of the violence. And I’ll blog when I remind myself that my girls aren't just princesses, they are mighty Dragon Slayers and the world better watch out.


I’ll remember that scarcity is a myth.  And I’ll do what I am made to do.


A huge thank you to Elora, for listening when I was tired and reminding me who I am.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Morning Musings

It's a cold, Chicago morning. I'm sitting at the kitchen table looking out at the glistening white snow. The girls are cleaning their playroom, which really means they are taking out even more toys. I hear the audio transcript of the Sacramental Baking e-course in the background as I eat a slice of homemade bread and finish my coffee. The voice is telling me that I am, "now responsible for making the spaces in which God causes His name to dwell in the world," and it all feels a little bit holy.


Tomorrow is my birthday. And I shall be resigned to referring to myself as "almost 40" and not "in my thirties."

I'm not sure how I feel about this.

No matter. The thoughts will sort themselves out I'm sure of it.

In the mean time, here is something that I wrote for a very special group of women. I'd be honored if you'd read along.



******

Chaos is not my muse. I know, I know. It’s supposed to be. At least that’s what they tell me.

I have three passionate and creative little ones – 6, 4, and 2. We live in a city, one of the big ones.  I’m a mother and a writer. Life is loud. All the successful ones yell, “Chaos is my muse.”

Screw ‘em. Not for me.

Writing, for me, is intimate. It’s sensual. I woo my words out, I coax them from the corners where they lie in wait to come out to the light. There’s just no other way.


While I’ve always loved writing and reading, it was my junior year’s AP American Literature that introduced me to the Romantics and the Transcendentalists. I found my home in the Chambered Nautilus, in Walden Woods, and on the shores of New England. Later it was the green rolling hills of the English countryside and the cold, snow filled streets of Russia that whispered to me in words only I seemed to understand. So when others tell me that I can find my muse even on the edges of life, I sit at my desk like Bartleby the Scrivener and say determinedly, “I would prefer not to.”

******

You can read the rest here, at the Story Sessions. If you are a (female) writer in need of community, I highly recommend these ladies. Seriously. They are the real deal.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Awake - A One Word Post for 2014

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.
Henry David Thoreau


Before the arctic blast that is sweeping through Chicago, we had a beautiful day full of snow. Several beautiful days of snow to be exact. The obligatory layers of clothes, snow pants, coats, hats, scarves, boots, and mittens were donned so the girls could spend some time outside making snow angels while their Daddy shoveled and cleared a path. I stood outside with them as dusk came creeping in. The air became colder than before, as snow continued to fall, light yet full, on our little spot in the middle of the city. I watched the snow drift down as the girls laughed and played and threw handfuls of it at each other.

I found myself, quite instinctively, putting my gloved hand out to catch the snow as it fell. I stood there, staring at the snow caught on the bright blue yarn of my glove. I saw all its intricacies. Frozen perfection.

In a hushed voice I called them over and there we stood, all four of us huddled around my glove watching the snowflakes fall. Kathryn immediately proclaimed that each was indeed different while Lucy tried to count them, “1, 2, 3, 2, 3, 2, 3……” Sophie was uncharacteristically quiet as she stared at them while a smile broke through her pink cheeks.

It occurred to me that I’ve never taken them out to just stare at snowflakes. In the past it was always such a hassle and I was always so very tired. But here, as night replaced day and the frigid air began to make itself known, I was awake to things I had not noticed in quite some time.

******


 I think I used to be different from what I am now. I remember being curious and adventurous and full of energy. But sometimes this mom thing sucks a bit of you out. You have to divert your resources to the things necessary and that other part of you seems to slip away. Those six years of waking up each night to rub backs, bring bottles, change diapers, and hold close the scared and lonely have clouded my eyes and dulled my senses. I sleepwalk through the day, unaware of all that is going on around me.

This year, this year I’m taking it back. This year I want to be awake.

******

I want to be aware of the sights and smells and sounds around me. I want to notice. To take part. To enter in. To be part of it.
I want to jump into the scary, the beyond me, the more than I can imagine. I want to dare to dream. I want to laugh at the impossible and move forward without worry.

I want to do the things I’m too scared to say aloud.

In a world full of gray, I want to see in Technicolor.

I want to bathe in the holy.

I want to expect the dawn.

I want to be awake.




Here's a little song I've been singing over and over and over again....