Thursday, August 26, 2010

Time Well Spent

Last week I wrote my 500th blog post. Subtracting 75 for photos, maybe another 25 for simple quotes or poems, this leaves me with about 400 short essays, each of which generally takes me well over an hour, sometimes a day or two, to write. I could have written a book.

A book without focus or direction; one full of sappy stories, crazy observations, family nostalgia and political frustrations. A book that, had I allotted just two hours a day to writing, I could have finished in 200 days, less than one kindergarten year. But I didn't write a book, I wrote 400 odd essays about every kind of random thing I could think of, and I'm not finished. There are 400 more ideas scratched into my little black notebook, and when I can't find that, I write on scraps of paper or magazine order forms, receipts and menus; no blank surface is safe from my Sharpie, non marker, pen.

Not that many people read what I have to say, but I'm grateful to those that do. Friends, family and a few others who are fool enough to knock off a few minutes each week with my dribble, I appreciate the interest. My college roommate doesn't call anymore, she told me she finds all she needs to know here, which is clearly a negative side effect to my putting thoughts to paper. On the positive side I've had the opportunity to write for a two blog groups, a truly rewarding experience, and one that has the promise of opportunity. One essay, a short diddy about Mad Libs, was picked up and distributed in small newspapers all over the country. My elation was somewhat tempered by Jack pointing out that people in Tacoma, Washington now know that my daughter likes to use "vergeenya" when asked for a noun. As is our life, the one I've decided to share.

For years people have been telling me to write, not because of my wicked skill, but because I seem to be party to some truly ridiculous stuff: ran out of gas in a fast food drive through, drove through a store window...I'm a bad driver, we've established that. My grandmother and father provide me with wonderful material, as do my children, my dear husband, his family, and mine. I'm grateful to all the characters, it doesn't take much imagination to put this together, some observation, a good memory, and time, the thing I am always lacking. My focus should be, at this point, trying to claw out a living, but I always come back to the blog. Terrible pay, limited benefits, but deeply fulfilling.

When I first started I printed out 10 or so essays for my mother, who has never touched a computer, to read. She handed them back to me the next day and said "I have absolutely NO idea what you are trying to accomplish". Neither do I Mom but I am certainly enjoying the work.

1 comment:

Rob Marvin MD said...

Your work isn't read simply because people love the opportunity to peer into your fantastically crazed view of life and motherhood. It may read "sappy" but you truly have a way of sucking all of us in; there is no other word for that but "talent." 

Your posts have inspired other, more long-winded sorts - like me - to also write. Even if I have but one solitary hit from a really bored person in Russia, it doesn't matter. Your writing tacitly gave me permission to also take a stab at writing a blog. Or two. While my narcicism would have me want everyone to clamor to read my latest post, the reality is that I simply learned I have to find comfort in the process; this has been a great catharsis for me. This, along with the gift of "A Word A Day," you sent ten years ago to my email, have been your ancillary gifts to this accomplished hack through your love of words.

One of the consistent comments I make to people when they ask about influences in my life always turns on you, Ally. While you have experienced joy and sorrow in your life, you showed me over time how to (nearly always) laugh through my tears. This is a remarkable attribute; for that alone, I am grateful for knowing you. It has ultimately made a huge impact on the way I live my life. This comes across in your writings and it is a legacy of the same joy and laughter you were blessed to share with the characters who made up your life - past and present.  Your writing is authentic and it keeps me coming back for more.   

Thanks for sharing all of it, Ally.   


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