Two years ago yesterday, I invited you to join me in an Upside Up movement, whatever that meant. Since then I’ve written almost 300 posts, left my home and returned to my home, learned how unexpectedly vast and diverse and intertwined the blogging world was, made some great friends, sent my kids to kindergarten, and learned a lot about myself as I coerced my long dormant writing muscles to rejoin me in life.
Sometimes I write regularly, sometimes I go weeks without writing (like currently), but this space is always near the top of my intentions. It is a room I can retreat to to parse my thoughts — even if I don’t end up sharing them with you. It is a forum I can access when I need your opinion or advice. It is a podium I can pace around if I want to share my opinion with you. And most importantly, it is a never-ending blank page. One that challenges me each time I deign to write something — each time I try to translate the stories in my head. The adrenaline rush of “I have something to say. Where do I begin? Nobody is going to want to read this. Then make it great so someone will want to read it” is so seductive. Even when I’m exhausted or preoccupied or depressed and can’t imagine ever writing another word, I’m still enticed by the challenge of the blank page and the prize of your willing eyes.
I realized long ago that I was not a journal writer. I tried to be, many many times, because I believed I needed to be a journal writer. That it was a failing of mine that I didn’t keep a journal. But let me tell you, with the exception of the uber inward-focussed high-school year I spent in France, I never wrote one single word worth reading in any of those journals. It was lazy writing and it lacked focus. And it embarrassed me every time I went back to re-read anything.
When I discovered blogging (thanks to the staggeringly talented Ian) I realized instantly that I belonged here. And I didn’t even know where “here” was. I just knew that this form of essay writing was exactly the journal I needed. Why? Because it was journal writing with audience.
When I say that, I risk a few things. First of all, it’s obviously egotistical to assume there will be any audience for this sort of self-indulgent writing. Secondly, it risks revealing that I’m a closet (or not) narcissist who thinks everything she says is brilliant and deserves an audience.
Actually, I mean neither of those things. What I mean is that having an audience keeps me accountable. You keep me from being lazy. You ensure that I will spend at least 30 minutes crafting a 5-word post, and later, be glad that I did. You ensure that when I go back and re-read what I’ve written, I will actually find it enjoyable. You keep me writing.
Did you know I was a creative writing major in college? And did you know I hardly wrote a single word in the 14 years between graduating and starting this blog? Since then, not only have I put words on a page nearly 300 times, but I have also managed to create somewhat of a chronicle of at least two years of Zoe and Lucy’s lives. (You should see the journal I tried to keep when I was pregnant. Boorrrring. Oh my got, was it boring.) Also I now find myself, as I was in college, in an almost permanent state of asking “is this something I could turn into a story?”
And all that is a gift I could never have asked for, would not have even known how. And which I will cherish as long as my cherish muscle works.
So I’m here now to thank you. Thank you for all that I’ve written — that you’ve enabled me to write. Thank you for taking me places I never even knew existed. And thank you for being such a kind, supportive and constant audience. I love you all — I mean it.