It’s been raining this morning since I woke up. The house takes on a grayish tint without sunlight and I’m thinking about grabbing my red running jacket and heading out to run over tree roots and through mud and into puddles. That will come later. For now, I grab a sweatshirt, my husband’s thick black fleece one, and edit and write and think and create, hoping to sculpt some beauty out of the uncertain edges that make up my rainy morning.
I don’t write to anyone else’s requirements anymore, and I love that. I love the freedom of crafting words according to my own artistic needs. For far too many years, I wrote what and how and when I was told . . . by partner, court or client.
Please forgive me, kind friends who have bestowed lovely blogging awards on me, but I simply cannot spend time writing to spec, so to speak. What I love most about this writing gig of mine is I can blaze my own trail. I have total and complete artistic freedom, and this is more precious to me than almost anything else, save my family.
Artistic freedom is a beautiful and mighty thing. I was thinking about this last night while talking to a dear, dear friend of mine. You see, I will never work for anyone else again. I’m going for it. I’m all in, as far as my choice of vocation. I am blessed to be doing for a living the one thing I love most: writing.
While I don’t write to spec, I love to riff off other writers, and my favorite source for improvisation material is my dear friend, Deborah Bryan. A few weeks ago, I received her post, Let’s Get Real, in my in-box and I sat there, all hunched over my brand-new Macbook Pro, reading the results of five minutes of unfiltered, fearless, straight up “this is what I’m thinking and fuck it all I’m going to tell you what’s on my mind” writing. And I grinned and howled and felt at home, as if she and I were sitting on her balcony drinking tea and watching the cars race past on the freeway overhead.
So here goes.
I know I write well. Am I arrogant or just honest? I suck at a lot of things and am average at best at many more.
For example, I strive to be a good mom. In truth, I think I’m a mediocre mom, but that’s better than telling everyone who will listen that I’m a great mom and consistently proving otherwise.
I’m mad at Facebook. My friends call Mark Zuckerberg something different. They switch the “Z” with an “F” and I think it’s funny but then I feel guilty for calling him bad names even after I use his product all day, every day. That said, he is trying to make page owners like me pay for what was once free. My friend, D.Z., explained that he should be paying us, the content creators, for what we do. We get Facebook users to linger more online, and the more our followers linger, the more likely they are to click on the paid advertising links.
I’m bored with this rant.
I’m bipolar and hyper and unable to sit still. I interrupt people too much; smile when I’m sad; giggle when I’m mad; and hate to wear dresses or uncomfortable shoes. In fact, the real reason I’m a writer is so that I can wear athletic shorts and a t-shirt every day.
I love my hair. It’s long and sort of dirty blond, not quite auburn, and not yet silver. It makes me feel feminine and pretty, which is hard for me. Usually, I don’t feel pretty or even feminine. It isn’t safe to be soft and pretty. It scares me. And typing that makes me wanna cry . . . but I don’t cry much and I don’t feel like being sad today.
Loud noises give me a headache. Violent TV shows give me nightmares. Every time I see a gratuitously naked woman in a movie, the little child in me screams in pain and fury. Shades of Grey’s success infuriates me. What the hell is wrong with people anyway? Why is this book popular? The book celebrates abusive sex and the writing sucks.
This world we live in is so awful. Damn it all.
But this world is beautiful too. I hear the raindrops hitting the leaves in my backyard. It’s raining harder and harder and not every drop makes the same noise as it hits the green and yellow leaves. It doesn’t sound discordant, and I wonder how many raindrops it takes to create harmony.
I laugh too loud. And so do my kids. Sometimes I worry that they laugh too loud. I worry that I laugh too loud and too much so that people will like me more.
I’m terrified to publish I Run because I’m going balls to the walls and telling my story, my real story. What will people think? What will my birth family do to me if they find out about what I’m writing?
Did you know where the phrase “balls to the walls” originated? It comes from the aviation world. On an airplane, the handles controlling the throttle are often topped with ball-shaped grips, referred to by pilots as balls. Pushing the balls forward, close to the front wall of the cockpit increases the amount of fuel going to the engines and results in the highest possible speed.
In other words, balls to the walls means giving your maximum effort. That’s the way I live and love and write. Consequences be damned.
And that, my friends, is a wrap. I’m going to write like this more often because it feels good.
I’m heading out for a run in a few minutes. While I’m gone, please feel free to tell me something unfiltered about yourself in the comments below.