For ever I’ve been writing as ideas come crashing in. During certain blocks of time these writings took on titled forms, like poem or novel or stage play. No matter the name, these pieces wholly occupied my time and sense of self, appearing like hidden treasures, each a gift on the page. Unlike the wonder and joy I felt while writing, however, forays into publishing were as consuming as quick-sand or as frustrating as a sand-trap: regardless the simile, this aspect of my writing process did not bear fruit. An occasional academic or periodical publication but not with the fanfare in which I suspected a titled “writer” would receive. A person with piles of papers covered with words stored in boxes. Is there a title for that kind of writer? Certainly there have been times when writing did not appear like fairy dust. In fact, I had a particularly dry stretch. After working with an unhelpful agent for a disappointing year, I lost interest and direction, and for a while I stopped writing: for months actually. But then, (and how wonderfully lucky I am), my dearest one suggested I consider blogging. What do I have to say? I responded immediately. I doubt I got more than her one eyebrow lifted before I broke into laughter. Plenty, yes, I’ve had plenty to say, and apparently continue to say, for there is no shortage of ideas springing forth for my weekly posts. This is how it was, during a distant dreary November, now six years ago, that Nine Cent Girl came to me. I’m so glad she did.
Seriously, it is hard to remember my world before Nine Cent Girl; she has brought me so much: learning, adventure and purpose. Through blogging I rediscovered, rather inadvertently, that regardless of the outcome, I really did just want to write. From recipes to fashion, from travels beyond my simple Vermont life to the wonder of my simple Vermont life, from big events out in the world to big events uncovered within me. I loved how an idea would come my way. Some were easy because they were the outcome of a magical or difficult experience; but other weeks, perhaps during frigid February, I had to wait and listen, and take whatever came my way. Some ideas were weak. Even those quickly forgotten blogs took on a significance of their own if only because they taught me to trust. Ideas are there, waiting; if I get quiet enough, I hear them.
The experience of blogging also taught me to let go. Write and publish. Write and publish. Week after week. The overly protective or overly precious quality of my writing opened to something else: fun perhaps? Once I pressed the publish command, the work was over. I moved on. I found new inspiration. Always eyes ahead. Is there anything more fabulous?
Every Thursday night, after a final read, a last edit, I hit publish and then sit back, perhaps stare into the fire or up at the starry sky, and I wonder who’s out there reading. Thankfully, absolutely with gratitude, I’d find the answer to that query in the most unlikely of relationships. Like at a grand gathering a few years ago, when dozens and dozens of family members had come together on a warm summer evening, my uncle, in his spry seventies, spinning a cousin on the dance floor, remarked in motion, “Keep at it Nine Cent Girl, keep at it and tell this story, tell our story,” and then he and his partner spun away. I had no clue he was even aware of my writing, let alone a reader of my blog! Beyond family and friends there are absolute strangers who are now digital buddies. They read from Australia or Oregon or New York or even the other side of town, but they let me know when I have sparked a connection. Over the years there have been so many dear face to face conversations as well as written notes and emails and texts and tweets and Facebook messages, each a sparkly gift, a warm recognition, a yes, keep at it.
Writing is a solitary art, demanding hours rapt in thought and research to examine the world and one’s view, and find the exact words needed to articulate these discoveries. Sometimes one wrestles tyrant-like ideas until they are brought into order, other times one may just chase after them as they run hell-bent where ever they please. Regardless of the craft, writing keeps me sane. Even understand my part to play.
Would I write without a readership? Would I write solely to fill yet another box with papers? Yes to both. But knowing that you are out there, caring enough to connect, even share stories of your own, is a grand reward. On the eve of my Nine Cent Girl Anniversary, I thank you all for reading the good posts and the not so good posts. I truly hope we’ll fuel each other for many more! Hey, I’m thinkin, after six years, it’s time to create Nine Cent Girl tee-shirts… ! Agree? Oh please, do let me know! xxoo