I’ve been avoiding this place. You may have noticed. It’s not because I don’t like it here, I like it just fine. But here’s the thing: I’m intimidated by my own blog. Honest to God. I didn’t know it until this morning, around 4:30 AM, while I was reading Shonda Rhimes’ terrific book, “Year of Yes”.
I won’t go into a lot of detail because this is about me and not her (I said that??), but Shonda’s year of yes came about because she was a perfectionist deep into her job (She OWNS Shondaland, producing and writing “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal”), but found there was no Shonda there. She decided to do a year of saying “yes” to things that challenged her, including, among other things, public speaking, and being a mom her kids might like to get to know. She pushed herself to do the things she thought she could never do and found a kind of happiness because she did.
And now I want to do that. Push myself. Not for fame or glory. Not any more. I’m eighty now. That train, if it was waiting for me, has long since left the station. But if I’m a writer–and I think I am–I’ll never stop trying to write in a way that will find readers. All writers write to be read. It’s our cross to bear.
My political blog, Ramona’s Voices, has a scant following and I appreciate those who’ve stuck with me, but I don’t write there as often as I did, mainly because anything I have to say about the Dread Trump and his enablers is already covered ever so much better somewhere else. I admit I’d rather read what others have to say than to keep repeating my own narrow mantra, which seems to be one of two thoughts: What the hell is going ON?? and What the hell are we going to do about it? (Yes, I said “the Dread Trump”. If I’ve disappointed you by saying it, we were probably never going to be friends, anyway. I’m sorry. Not sorry. I’m not.)
Anyway…I highly recommend Shonda’s book. She writes–no surprise–like Meredith Grey speaks. (She invented Meredith.) But she’s a real person with real fears, real needs, real observations about how easy it is for an introvert (yes…) to take the easy way out. I could quote from her book all day, but again this is about me, not her. So just this one thing:
I couldn’t find just this one thing. Shonda Rhimes writes, as I said, like Meredith Gray talks, in that fluid, lyrical, poetic way where you swear you can hear music in the background; so, as inspired as I find I am, I couldn’t pull out a short quote that wasn’t part of a larger story. I couldn’t. But believe me when I say I was inspired.
I’m here, aren’t I?
I’m a writer, an essayist, a columnist. I’ve dabbled in fiction and poetry. But when I call myself a blogger, it’s a whole different ball game. A blog–this kind of blog, this blog right here–is the kind of blog that’s supposed to get personal.
The word “blog” is short for “weblog”, which is itself a corruption of “web log”. A “log” in the real world is a method of keeping track of items or events. Ship’s logs. Aircraft logs. That kind of thing. But when the web opened up to everybody, the weblog craze took off and suddenly everyone saw the chance to tell everyone else about their lives. Every little detail of their lives. In public. There must have been millions of blogs. Maybe there still are. I don’t know. I admit I rarely read a personal blog. Yet here I am, trying to write one.
I started Constant Commoner to get away from politics and write about everything else going on in my life. I’ve written about my age, about my cancer, about my writing–and every time I write about those things I sort of demand that my readers don’t feel anything.
Damndest thing. I never realized it before, but I do that. I talked about my age, finishing up with something about not giving my age another thought. It’s just a number. (So why did I bring it up?)
I talked about my cancer, demanding not an ounce of pity. None at all. In fact , I seemed to be saying, pretend you never read this. No big deal. How was YOUR day?
I even wrote a piece called “A Case Against Using Your Blog As a Journal”. I just read it again. I was right about some things, but so, so wrong about the overall premise. I wrote it as if all blogs were meant to be professional works, written only by professional writers, which is not just claptrap but hogwash, too. I insulted bloggers everywhere by insisting there should be a rule book for blogs.
Here’s the thing about blogs: They’re not mandatory. We don’t have to read them, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exist. Of course they should. They make their bloggers happy.
Getting personal is hard for me. I like my privacy, I hate bragging, and I don’t cotton much to drawing attention to my flaws. Beyond a steady, “What on earth was I thinking?” I’m not much for navel-gazing. I have no real education or bona fides yet I love to give my opinion. On everything. I must be really annoying that way. (Fishing for compliments is not my thing, either. You’re not required to respond.)
I’ve never been able to figure myself out. I don’t know what’s expected of me here. I have this space and I enter it as if it’s not my own. I’m not comfortable here. I really would like to change that.
I’ve made all sorts of promises about what I want to do here, and haven’t kept a single one, so I’m making no promises about what’s going to happen here. I’m just going to blog as if this is a blog and I’m the blogger. We’ll see how it goes.
I’m just going to call it a day for now, but I’ve got some ideas…