Last night, in the final installment of my Art of Blogging course, our instructor Linda asked us to think about the essence of our blogs. Is the focus of One Eyed Queen clear to me yet? Or is it true, as the Spanish poet Antonio Machado wrote, that there are no roads, that the way becomes manifest upon walking?
I started writing down stories at the beginning of this summer as a way to keep myself occupied during my sabbatical. I’ve always loved stories – hearing them and telling them – and I’ve also loved writing, though I never fancied myself “a writer.” While I was visiting her on the Sunshine Coast in June, my dear friend Veronica suggested that I start writing some of my stories as a way to kick start my creative exploration. “You’re a great writer,” she said, though I don’t think she’d actually read anything I’ve written. “You need to write.” To get me going, she gave me a spiral-bound-at-the-top writing tablet, the kind you’d pick up at a drugstore for $1.99, and told me to write the story I’d recounted to her the night before, my version of the night we met a few years earlier. It’s a great story, she said… write it. And so I did. I read it to her after I’d written it, and she loved it… my first commissioned piece.
I wrote a few other “stories” over the next few weeks in that little tablet, just for the fun of it, at the beach, anywhere, about anything that happened to cross my mind. Then, in early August, I decided to start this blog so that I’d have a more public space to share these stories. Sort of like creating my own “open mic,” a place for me to just put myself out there and see what kind of response I might get.
At the same time, I started reading other people’s blogs… since I hadn’t followed any others, I thought it might be a useful thing to do. Lo and behold, I found plenty of people writing about subjects that interested me greatly – most of them, incidentally, had to do with inspiring other people to do whatever they loved doing. Writers like Danielle LaPorte and Kate Moller inspire me with their “just do it” attitude, no matter what it is that you or I might “do”. Authenticity seems to be the key word.
I thought I might inspire people too… just by showing up and being me. That’s the main message I got from one of my longest-standing inspirations, David Whyte, in a four-part YouTube video he made about The Journey of the Artist. Just show up. Just be me. Just write.
And so I do. I write. Not as often as I’d like, not as easily, not as focused… but the words come when I give them the time and space. I can write about anything or nothing. I can write about what’s new in the world (how about that sad excuse for a mayor in Toronto killing the plans for a light-rail line?), or about what’s new in my world (I had a date this week!). Or I could just write about nothing at all.
Turns out, that’s sort of my favourite subject… nothing at all. I write about it every morning, the very first thing I do when I wake up. Three pages in my lined notebook about nothing at all. It’s just a way to get my juices flowing and clear out my head so that, if and when the time comes for me to actually write about something (and god forbid get paid to do that!), my brain will be more focused and sharp and ready to produce the next great marketing piece about [your product here].
In the meantime, I aspire to inspire. Inspiration literally means “breathed upon” – so before we go any further, I’m going to go brush my teeth, and then I’ll be back here on my blog to breathe my next little tidbit of inspiration upon whomever might read it.
For now, I’ll leave you with this well-worn reminder… showing up, being you, using your VOICE in whatever way pleases you, that is all we’re here to do. So let’s just do it.