New Beginnings

Pseudo-Chagall cat I made on the iPad with Paper53. 🙂 I’m experimenting with doodling and daily drawing as a connection to the writing process (making no assertions that I am a professional visual artist — it’s just for fun.)

I want to return to blogging once a week. I’ve missed it and I’ve missed a regular communication with readers, but I’ve struggled over what a blog “should” be, and I fell into the trap that I needed to always deliver “measurable content” and that shut me down and took my voice away. I felt like I had to be teaching to be valuable, but I really wanted to share experiences and struggles. I’m learning all the time. The things I eventually teach in a formal setting came about through lots of mistakes and missteps. Those things that are the underbelly of being an artist are what interests me. The blogs and feeds I enjoy are ones that are talking about the artist’s struggles, not the ones that are offering me 10 Tips to a Bestseller.

I’m always happy to talk about craft, but I do that all day long and that doesn’t push me forward as an artist. I’ve been wrestling with how to manage social media and my writing career for several years, and then the election happened and I plunged into despair. But now I’m regrouping, getting back up, stronger and more focused and more committed than ever to the power of writing and language.

I don’t want to make noise. I don’t want to shout at you. I am a writer. And I’m an introvert. And I’m tired of pretending to be things I’m not. I’ll never shout the loudest, but I can persevere the longest. So I am claiming that here. One of my super-powers is persistence, followed closely by discipline. So hey, silent, non-sexy strengths, welcome aboard!

I’m still sussing out what the blog will primarily be, and it will take time to find its legs, but it will be more personal than ‘how-to’. Perhaps short essays, a poem or two, a piece of flash fiction — and a doodle that connects to where I am in my daily creative process. They’ll be short. Once a week.

I’ve been cyber-stalking @Lin_Manuel, the Pulitzer Prize winning creator of all things Hamilton (and many more!) and his Twitter feed has become an inspiration to me, not a place to feel tense and to fight and to shout.

Above, he tells us a little about his approach. He wants his feed to be a place of reprieve and release for people who are fighting hard fights. He recognizes that he can control what he puts into the world but not the world itself. That’s important to me as a writer and a human.

America has hard fights ahead of it. We each need to use our super-powers to do the work that is ours to do. I think one of the hardest challenges is determining what that work is. It’s easy to mistake the outrage for the work. It’s easy to get distracted by the sheer magnitude of what needs to happen. As Meryl Streep said at the Golden Globes, “Take your broken heart and turn it into art.”

This will be an experiment for me and my relationship with my creative work and with an audience. So if you’ve read my books and like my work and want to follow along and see what I’m up to and thinking about, please do. You can have it sent to your e-mail or you can find it on FB/Twitter/Tumblr. And if it doesn’t excite you, no worries.

I’m still writing books, and I’m still showing up for the silence of my office at dawn. And I’m always, always using language as my tool for activism and resistance.