I suppose there comes a time in one’s life when you have to accept who you are and just run with it. If you have any sort of creative bone in you at all, that can be tough when more of your bones are filled with insecurity and self-doubt. I don’t need a therapist to tell me what it means that I struggle to draw or paint — I know I’m supposed to just brush upwards in one bold stroke … but I can’t. I worry about how I’m holding the brush, about whether I’m pressing too hard, will it look stupid. And voila! It becomes a mess!
Yeah, painting’s not really my thing. But I do like to write, and I do feel slightly more confident in my writing abilities than in my painting abilities. And just like everyone else who enjoys writing, I have a million story ideas running about in my head. The rub is getting them down on paper. Sure I’ve read books on writing. (Which by the way, is a great way to avoid actually writing.) They all say things like “carve out time in every day to write, even if it means getting up an hour earlier every day.” I already get up at 5 am for a long commute, so I don’t see that happening. Yet I know that some of the best authors in history also had a full time job while they wrote their masterpieces. For years I wondered about Nathaniel Hawthorne working at the Customs House and writing, and then I came across these words he wrote to his friend Mr Longfellow:
I am trying to resume my pen… Whenever I sit alone, or walk alone, I find myself dreaming about stories, as of old; but these forenoons in the Custom House undo all that the afternoons and evenings have done. I should be happier if I could write.
See? I should be happier if I could write, too, dear Nathaniel! Much as he must have found time here and there in every one of his days, I hope to write something here at the old blog every day. Some days it may just be a paragraph, other days it will surely be longer. Some days it will be serious, but generally not.
I look around at the elders of my family, and I see lives well lived, fully lived. Today is my aunt’s 97th birthday, in a few weeks my Dad turns 90. When we lost my mom last year to a stroke, she was just shy of her 92nd birthday. It’s quite possible I could live another 40 years, all the time saying to myself, “I really wish I had time to write.” So instead, this place is going to be my exercise, my structure, my daily rant. Call it what you want. This little blog has been a faithful friend to me in good times and bad. As I flirt with Facebook and Twitter, Nailing Jello to the Wall is always here waiting for me. If I took the time I spend reading summaries of posts about celebrities on Facebook, and instead spent that time here, well. I think we know when there’s too much junk food in our diet. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Gawker.
So let’s do this thing.
(Hawthorne quote from: Miller, Edwin Haviland. Salem Is My Dwelling Place: A Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1991. ISBN 0-87745-332-2.)