Saturday, July 11, 2015

Where have I been?

I am feeling rusty, but if I don't write something, I am not sure when I will start again.

I wrote two important pieces about my college. Yes. That college I don't shut up about. One was to be read at an assembly held during reunion weekend, and one to be placed in the college's quarterly magazine.

The speech came to me at 9:15 one night and I just wrote it and sent it to my Class President and my Co-Reunion Chair for their review. Would either of them like to take parts of it to use when either of them gave our class speech? They decided to use the whole thing and for me to read it instead. This was a body numbing big deal to me.
One fraught with the emotions of fear, pride, and sadness.

I am not a public speaker, save the 3-4 toasts I have given at weddings/anniversaries. I think I gave a quick one at my own 40 1/2 birthday party and was told to just cut the cake already.

I was proud to have made two very intelligent and creative women writers content with what I had to share. That they believed in me to deliver it to a crowded auditorium on behalf of the Class of '95 was overwhelming to me. I overwhelm way easier than most which can be embarrassing. And that is just me.

I was sad that this moment came without my father, a speech writer, around me. I rocked on my porch and kept whispering in my head, "What do you think? My dear ol' Da, what do you think?"

As I tweaked the speech, another wowing writer friend and editor emailed me and asked if I would submit something to the college magazine.

I wet myself.

She had an idea of what she was looking for. It perfectly fit with the point I was making in the speech. It would be seamless! It would be an honor!

It would be a literal and literary ass kicker.

I started with something I had already written and tried to tweak it. Dad rushed in my head and said "Throw it out. Start again. What matters will stick."
I then tried different angles.
I was then given suggestions I tried to incorporate.
I lost my voice we were both looking for.
I then had to edit out about 200 words.
I then didn't like the whole flow.
I then had to edit about 60 words.
I am sure margins were altered a bit to save me.
I felt like an ass.
I felt like I didn't know the first thing about writing.
I felt challenged and inept.
None of this due to my thoughtful and clever editor. She told me she loved working with someone who knew how to write an essay.
I thought I knew how to write an essay...

I was being asked to approach writing differently than I had for 21 years. I was so challenged by that. In my heart I knew I needed to be challenged. Growth is hard and growth hurts. I had to embrace it.

When I submitted the last draft, I felt as if I had run a marathon in 550 words. I was glad I had done it. I was embarrassed by whatever was dripping down my legs by the last miles. I never wanted to do it again.

I stopped writing for a while after that. I watched my writer self from afar and noted that I just needed time to grapple with what taxed me: Parameters. I'm thinking that was what stumped me. Also a fear of disappointing the editor, my classmates, and through all that, myself. 

Oh, the ego.
The ego.

I started writing again one melancholy evening. Unfortunately it is about something sad that I will eventually share. As I turned to look at what was welling in me, I was so grateful that the words began to flow again. I don't think it is the sadness that inspires me as much as feeling. Finding perspective in feelings. 
Writing seems so selfish for me. I am grateful when someone reads it and indulges me a bit, though.

I have been here this whole time. Just rocking and thinking instead of rocking and typing. Watching hummingbirds. Petting a cat. Waiting for a breeze.

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