There's nothing like a simple question, an email, and an unexpected visit with my high school English teacher to remind me that I like to write, I have a blog, and I randomly stopped posting over a month ago. A month ago!?! My how time flies! I admit I kicked myself when the first week slipped by. But after the second week crept up on me, I drifted easily into an apathetic underwater float -- holding my breath splayed prone in the water listening to nothing but the lilt of the waves on my body, the gurgle of an intermittent bubble escaping from my nostrils, and the silence in my head. It's really quite peaceful. But eventually you have to come up for air.
"Have you decided to abandon your blog?" my mother-in-law sweetly posed across the table at Sunday lunch. Busted! I had hoped to stay underwater a while longer. "No. I just need a break," was the short version of the long answer I'd been mulling over for weeks. Why had I abruptly quit posting? I hadn't stopped cooking interesting dishes, I hadn't ceased to research natural health, the garden hadn't stopped growing, my days weren't uninteresting to me, and I certainly hadn't changed my philosophies about simple, intentional living. But I had gotten the feeling that my posts were strained. I was anxious about what to write next or how to keep it interesting. I was concerned about being too preachy or elementary. And the inkling that readers (however plenteous or few they may be) might not actually DO anything with my posts was discouraging. What if no one is actually interested in how I make mayonnaise or that I'm an educated, accomplished young woman purposely living without conventional career aspirations? More than the "How To" is anyone being influenced by the "Why"? I let the cursor remain idle as these questions hung heavily in the air.
And in this moment of creative floundering, the weirdest thing happened...
My high school English teacher from Connecticut came to Louisville, Kentucky. Despite my inflated opinion of my moments of academic glory under his tutelage, his voyage to the Bluegrass State had nothing to do with seeing his former students. He, a Harvard grad and valedictorian of his class, was here for a week grading 40,000 AP English Literature exams with a crew of other veteran English teachers. Graciously, he got in touch with my sisters and me in hopes that we could catch up during a free evening. Here I was covertly protesting the pen and one of my foremost influences literally comes to town!
To my relief, we spoke very little about my writing. (Though I did ask him to clarify a grammatical conundrum I'd been wrestling with recently. I'm such a nerd!) The small group of us enjoyed the evening telling stories and giving updates about family, school, work, and leisure. Parting ways, I could have wiped my brow and skulked back into my corner, but the third spirit to visit this Scrooge-y author arrived this morning as I opened my inbox. The subject of an email forwarded by my mother beamed: "Attention, Writers!" It was a reminder for an annual statewide writing contest that I'd submitted to in the past. Can I not have a moment's peace!?!
A part of me, the part that craves creatively organizing my myriad thoughts into print, got the message that I'd had my moment's peace and it was time to get back on track. I remembered that I'M interested in how to make mayonnaise and why I don't have a "real job"...and a host of other things for that matter. And I remembered that I write as much for my own outlet as I do to benefit "the audience".
So with a bit of trepidation, I logged back in to once again post my musings on the web. I prefer not to think of it as having had writer's block so much as having taken a walk around the block -- as in for fresh air and to clear my head -- which everyone knows is a good thing every now and again!