So far, I’ve shared this blog with only three people, and they have to be nice to me: my seventeen year-old daughter Mia, who greatly values her driving privileges; my twenty-three year-old son Nate, who lives in Texas, but this week is back home, laid up in his boyhood room after ACL surgery (ever seen the movie “Misery”? He doesn’t want to be the James Caan to my Kathy Bates); and my husband, because I put up with his obsessions all the time — lawn care, his swollen knees, Keira Knightley . So what’s a little blog post?
One post a day for a month is me throwing down the gauntlet to my dormant inner writer. My daughter’s friend Ingrid challenged herself to do a handstand a day for a year (that’s her, above, in our hallway on day 360). Seen in that context, a post a day is small change. And hey, February is a short month.
I am always saying I am going to write. But then I don’t. I’ve been paid to write for ages: covering horse shows and high school plays for the local small town paper; penning marketing materials, admissions brochures, web content, newsletters, and press releases as communications director for a school; ghostwriting correspondence for executives and board members; teaching writing to high school kids – my own three, and a bunch of other people’s, too. Give me an assignment and a deadline and I am a thoroughbred: fast out of the gate and running for the roses. But faced with complete freedom—no sense of urgency, no prescribed goals, just me and my imagination with all the time in the world—I become a mangy pony in a petting zoo, wandering around aimlessly, glassy-eyed, hoping for snacks.
My dad once said to me: “You don’t do well without structure.” As much as it irritated me at the time, he was right. So here I am at 55, giving myself an assignment and a deadline. It’s not Tolstoy. It’s not going to rock your world. The unfinished manuscripts or teleplays buried in the archives of my hard drive still may never see the light of the desktop. This is just me trying to create some scaffolding. Maybe there will never be a building. But at least I might get my fingers onto the keyboard to do this activity that is so much a part of me, that vexes and thrills, that terrifies me.