Thursday, August 13, 2009

Confessions of the Silent Blogger

Well, I’ve run out of excuses.

My teaching semester ended months ago. Our pre-wedding trip to celebrate with my husband’s family in Australia was wonderful--and exactly what we needed to do, as crazy as the timing was. Our June wedding, now a beautiful memory, was more perfect than we dared to hope for. Our semi-local honeymoon in Myrtle Beach, SC was relaxing and rejuvenating. My husband’s immigration case is in order—at least, our work is done; now it's in our lawyer's hands. We’re settled into our new apartment.

I could, however, come up with another string ofexcuses as to why I can’t possibly post on the blog—in a few weeks, another semester will begin, and I have much yet to prepare; our landlords have turned out to be crazy, and we’ve decided to look for a new apartment; we’ll be moving out in a month; we haven’t connected the internet at our apartment, and now we’re going to wait to connect we’ve moved (which, by the way, is quite an inconvenience)—but at this point the reason for my lack of posts is more closely related to my cognitive state and my writing habits than to any circumstance of my life.

I have a problem—an idea problem. Whenever I approach the page, I almost always have the same question: What in the world do I write???

How can one who aspires to be a writer struggle with ideas as much as I do, you ask?

I think the answer is simple. You see, I’m all about the language. It’s the words that I love, and the rhythms. It’s the moments of chilling pleasure when the two combine in such a way that they sing off the page.

Sure, I love the ideas, too—especially the gripping and inspiring ones—and I agree, the language and the ideas each are nothing without the other. And, if asked why I write/want to write, I would answer ". . . because I think I have something to say." Though, if I were to ask myself this question, my answer would probably be ". . . because I hope I have something to say," which makes me wonder whether invention is not really my problem after all, but something much deeper.

I wrote a book. Just one book. It started as a fantastical story about a boy who rides his bike off the edge of the earth, but over the years, as I try to get it "just right," it's morphed into something else--a story about a Japanese girl who receives a silkworm egg as a gift from her grandfather. The plot line and most of the characters are entirely different from the original, but the themes of love and loss remain the same. I've submitted my book twice, once as Blaine's story and once as Jitsuko's. Blaine's story received such criticism that I was compelled to put it away for over a year. Jitsuko's story was born out of that percolation period. While I'm still working out the glitches, I think Jitsuko's story is by far more compelling than Blaine's ever was. Nonetheless, to her story, I received one of those "thanks but yeah right" letters.

I've heard established authors' advice about those letters--blow them off, collect them in a folder, use them as inspiration, et cetera. I know that it's taken some authors years to "make it." (In a way, it was encouraging to hear Dan Gutman tell me last April that it took him 12 years, if I remember correctly, to find his niche.) But what keeps them all going through all the rejections? My guess is a love for the craft and the confidence that they have something to say.

I love the craft--ya know, the words and rhythms. It's the confidence that I lack. It keeps me from blogging, and, much worse, it keeps me from writing. I suppose the lesson for me in all of this is simply to just get over myself and get writing. Otherwise, I should just quit it all now before I waste a good chunk of my life wishing I had the courage to put my pen to the page.

So, I thank you dear blog, and dear reader, for another opportunity to face my fears and to be that person I so very much wish to be--a writer.


  1. Woot Woot a Janine post finally and I have to say it was worth the wait!

  2. I heart you Janine! The first post is the hardest -- soon you'll be addicted like Frankie and I!


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