Writing and the afterglow

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Creative motivation? The brainchild behind the writing? It is this very question that has left me with five unfinished drafts, thirteen neglected followers (don’t peel those bumper stickers off just yet, and yes, the “WE ♥ U CARRIE DOUGLAS” t-shirts are still being shipped), two sweaty armpits, and one helluva hazy evening from too many klonopin.  The five drafts meant to tackle the very debacle of WHY I WRITE are still left in my queue in their virgin form; here is a sampling of their current endings:

  1. fuck fuck fuck where is the fucking tuna (homage to best line ever: Bridget Jones Diary)
  2. blah blah blah
  3. aaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
  4. enough with this bullshit Carrie, p.s. you suck
  5. fjdksajfsakd;ghjsd;fj lhrfek;grwaujgia32uj

I will spare you the rest of the bloody aftermath. You’re welcome.

The agony of working through my first ever writer’s block (mini sidebar: what qualifies me to even make this statement) has about pushed me into a mental hell.  D-E-D-I-C-A-T-I-O-N has won out, and the beautiful work which will now unfold is for you, my devoted followers.

Clearly, my creative motivation is not to find a new way to tell myself what a lousy writer and blogger I am. It actually just reminds me of a handful of activities I attempted as a child:

  • Tumbling (loyal followers, who have been following me since I was a shorty, will recall my post about my cartwheels looking like a sideways donkey kick)
  • Softball (as a highly-undercoordinated lefty, my positioning at bat always had me end up facing the catcher)
  • Hell, I was the only kid at recess who could strike at kickball. YES, it happened

So, just the mere title of “blogger” or “writer” has recently confounded me. Paralyzed, I sat before my brand new Twitter account blankly staring at the computer screen. I agonized about who I am and what I think I’m doing in the blogosphere.  How presumptuous, Carrie, to claim writer or blogger after publishing three little posts. Who do you think you are?

Does anyone else find a way to mentally berate herself with something as simple as delineating a Twitter profile? So, when this magic finally rolled out…”air-fiver, blogger, and counselor,”…I naturally began an internal diatribe about the Oxford comma.

I would be lying if I told you writing or blogging was my absolute passion. Actually, I feel a bit like an impostor…or at least like someone who came late to the oops we forgot to tell you it WASN’T really a costume party party wearing an orange, 1980’s, Bruce Jenner-type (think Wheaties) tracksuit with a white terry headband and then got caught double-dipping into the salsa.

So, it goes something like this. I didn’t really know I loved to write until it became more than an afterthought.  In my youth and young adulthood, I experimented with writing: journaling, poetry, etc. I haven’t filled a journal or written a poem in at least a decade. But this writing? It’s different, euphoric.

Maybe this euphoria is something that every writer, faced with her own lack of raison d’être, comes to know after a drought. Perhaps, it’s just that after obsessing so earnestly about one’s next work, the relief of finally bearing fruit is palpable. A coup, of some sort…a writer’s high? Is it even more?

The radio blares that song “Roses” by Chainsmokers and my foot is off the gas because the light ahead is red and every fiber of my being longs to coast just a minute longer because it is that part in the music that makes me almost want to burst out of my seat with joy and the surge of just fucking being and it is resonating through my body because the music is so loud and there is
pure melody and
her voice
and the bass
and I am ready to touch the brake because it is past time now and I am filled with sorrow because it was too fleeting and in a millisecond the regret is a memory because the light blinks green and the lane is wide open so with pure, fucking, unbelievable joy I step my foot onto the gas and sail through that green light and the music is still at that spot where it feels so exhilarating to drive fast; it is perfect and it is happening and
POUND POUND POUND in my chest
and I understand my reason for being alive and
CLICK CLICK CLICK the dopamine is drowning my brain,
my body,
my fucking soul
and it is like this with the
CLICK CLICK CLICK
of the keyboard when there is the hum of taps and clicks and this sound is like no other and my thoughts are literally pouring from my brain and the monitor is flooded with words and I just know this is right, this is what I imagined
my words are the perfect circle and they keep streaming from my mind and
CLICK CLICK CLICK the keyboard is my SONG and this is what I’ve been yearning for, this feeling, this connection, this certainty of being one with something
my mind and body nearly writhe and as the moment ebbs I know that this is all I was ever really after…

I languish in the afterglow; I savor it, breathe it in, feel the comfort of just being. I am still and I am quiet. I stare at my hands where they rest on the keys. There is no sound but the slight hum of the modem. My eyes blink before the monitor; although the room is dusky, I wish the lights were lower and instinctively pull my cardigan tighter across my breasts, my chest.

Transporting, this culmination of work. I will chase it again, but am sated now. One click left: publish.

Like any high, once satisfied, the craving begins anew. These moments are fleeting. They are perfect, tiny and few, but they are mine.

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Hangin’ at the Community Pool (I brought my floaties)

lone woman at pool

Wading the Community Pool

Ever feel like you just did the most graceful cartwheel of your life?  But somebody recorded it and you realize you look like you did a sideways donkey-kick (and your butt looks bigger than you remember).

And so it begins. The obsession. I wake at night and obsess about my blog, its stats, views, likes, and comments.  Do they get me? Am I relatable? Please like me. I lose sleep. I write inside my head but fail to rouse to make it concrete. Often, my best work becomes lost somewhere between slumber and awakening. I curse (fuck), I am certain it was good, but now lost forever (double-fuck). The artistic genius that inhabited my brain from 2:37am – 3:46am (ish) is now dead.

It will begin again, anytime I am near an electronic device. My stomach in knots… Don’t check it, doooooon’t check those fucking stats…. and yet, I refresh, I wait, I refresh, I imagine my next post, I start writing my next post in my head, I refresh, and in all of this, I forget to actually do the one thing that I set out to do, which is to write and make it relative.

I made the mistake of asking my mom what she thought of “pimps…”, as I now refer to my first post (i.e., my earlier work). In fact, I’m going to just call it pimps from here on out, because it’s fun….no other reason. “Pimps.” Say it yourself. Purse your lips together and say “pimps.” How often do you get to say it? My guess is, not enough… not enough.

Here is a bit of my mother’s email:

“It is amazing but way too long…wonder if your venue should be something other than a blog?

It is my understanding that blogs are to be many, many things, but not long.

Should you perhaps turn your sights to short stories?

Or somehow make that piece one that can be turned into a two day blog.

I’m not an expert on blogs but if I were looking for a way to connect to a blogger I believe I would have about 45 seconds to grab some quick inspiration and then come back tomorrow for another fix…..I still believe you need to either think of another  venue for your talents or find a way to hit it hard with fewer words. People want short and powerful not too lengthy.

SHORT STORIES? How the fridge will I now switch mediums/venues to start writing short stories?  Jesus Christ, I was confused enough just starting THIS site. Do people just publish ONE short story? It’s normally a “collection,” mom. What would the title be: Pimps…, a short story? And a two-day blog, what even is that??  Oh, and by the way, thanks Mom… no more sleepless nights for me! No siree!

 

I also asked my sister. Pretty sure it went something like this: “It’s waaaaaay tooooo loooong, and while you’re writing, try to make it interesting.” Okay, I may have made that last bit up, but GOD, I knew there was a reason that I was going to keep this blogging thing to myself.

Has it come to this? Whose approval would fill me? I am highly competitive (except when it comes to something that requires actively or passively sweating). I want to know that this one thing is both artistic and able to be connected to; both provoking and funny, profound yet relatable, relevant and yet somehow still symbolic. Didn’t someone once tell me I could write?

My mind said, “who in their ‘right’ mind would want to read this stream of consciousness, immature bullshit?” But seeing bloggers like Mimi Smartypants and No Wire Hangers, Ever be so freaking awesome, entertaining, and relatable (and pardon me, not comparing them to my immature bullshit) made me trust in mankind. Period.  “I can do this, I am doing this.”

Seven days ago (but who’s counting), I had for a moment, a real boost in self-confidence and sent a successful blogger an e-mail asking her to check out my first post “Pimps, dissonance, and the human condition” (aka “Searching for Pretty Woman”).  I had no idea whether or not she’d respond and bam, within twenty minutes my heart was soaring: you like me…right now….you like me (cue Sally Field moment). She told me I was relatable, and that that is the tough part, that “being relatable” part. She also gave me some constructive criticism: shorten the posts.

So the question? What is it I want to accomplish?

If a lack of “likes” or “follows” (and how it plays on my self-esteem) is in part what fuels my obsession, then turning my attention to some blog know-how (if you will) has been my next step. A caveat to this whole bloggin’ life, according to HeatherBlog, is: don’t allow your self-worth to become correlated with how many likes and follows (in “How to get more blog traffic”) …Yikes, that’s a bitter, bitter pill for a girl like me. Not base my self-worth on others’ opinions? Blasphemy, Heather!  From where would I attain my self-image?

At the end of the day, perhaps I need to just.be.real. I know myself. Of-fucking-course there is some remote form of ego-building and ego-seeking going on. I want everything I do to be noticeably worthy.

For now, I will continue to hang at the Daily Post’s Community Pool for feedback, inspiration, criticism, and maybe praise.  I have been brave enough to wade in its waters but have not swam its depths or gone all in; neither jumped in with the fury of a cannonball nor elegantly swan dived. You’ve seen me there, I am sure, in a simple one-piece, trying to look casual. When I do make my splash, I am certain it will be with all the grace of a flailing belly-flop and painfully awkward for us all, because I’ll just be doing me.