Thursday, January 7, 2010

a New Year's Revolution

Guilt, I am fond of saying, is a powerful motivator. Well, in my current situation, it's shame, not guilt, that is providing the motive force. But as they say, whatever works. Thanks, cousin!

I realize I have not posted in nearly a year...and what a year it's been, full of rich wanna-make-you-pull-your-hair-out experiences. My fantasy last January was that I would resolve to rejuvenate my writing skills by blogging, and doing it regularly, giving myself a forum in which to express thoughts and ideas and maybe actually be confident enough to beat into shape my private writing and actually DO something with it. And like every other resolution, that lasted a whole month (I think I actually hung on to "eat my veggies" longer than that). When I belonged to a writer's group, I had the external discipline of the group and the regular meetings to encourage me; when the group dissolved, so did my confidence in thinking I actually had something to say that someone would want to read. I tried joining other groups, but the vibe wasn't there, the format didn't work for me, life with three kids and activities got crazy and the first thing to drop off the schedule was my writing. That was five years ago, at least.

So what's happened that makes me think I can actually do this now?

Well, for one, I wangled a neat piece of guilt on myself (yeesh, scary what a Catholic education can make one do). Now that I take the train to work three days a week, I pulled out a writer's journal and sternly told myself, "Thou shalt write, at least once each commuting day, for the duration of the trip to thine destination." Which comes to about 35 minutes, depending on the cooperativeness of the trains. And I give myself the Anne Lamott out: I am permitted to write absolute crap. Some days I respond to the prompt in the journal. Some days I parody my fellow passengers. During the transit strike, I ranted about the ridiculousness and greed of the workers (I had just been laid off from one job and the $52K annually to punch tickets and make change sounded pretty good to me). And with time, I demonstrated behaviors having a shadowy resemblance to discipline.

It did help that my sister-in-law, my fellow wanna-be writer, book-lover, word junkie, and kindred spirit waved her writing journal in my face and I observed the cross-outs and microscopic script crawling up the margin of the page once she had filled all the lines. Heck, I was supposed to be HER conscience--we had AGREED!

So I reasoned: if I have been able to train myself (oof! unintended pun) to write on the train when commuting...I could certainly post on my blog on the other days. Here it helped that my cousin and fellow blogger apply a dose of guilt--if I wanted to be followed on her site, I had better produce something to follow.

So here it is. Actually, I should more correctly say, Here It Begins. And I will remind myself that I DON'T need to solve the world's economic crisis, come up with the ideal healthcare plan for all, share my recipe for Foie Gras Sauteed in Extra-Virgin Hazelnut Oil with White Truffle Emulsion, verbally knock the heads of conservatives and liberals together in the hope that some intelligence will be jarred free from where it's stuck, or ANY thing like that.

I just have to write.

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