I initiated this as a travel blog, a temporary residence while I drove across the country and back this summer. Upon coming home, a travel blog felt rather purposeless as my travel during the year is mostly limited to driving back and forth to work, with occasional forays to the grocery store. So I’ve let it wait a little, resting, perhaps, like a good roast should after a broiling summer.
Meanwhile, I’ve embarked on a more metaphysical sort of travel, a trip I’ve been trying to further ever since junior high when I wrote three chapters of a “novel” on loose leaf then carried it around with me as if that would induce inspiration. It’s a journey that has pulled me forward in fits and starts ever since, a ridiculous idea leading me on, akin to those people who wax philosophical about wanting to see Europe or spend Christmas in Hawaii but are always waiting for the right time to do it. In a way, it’s a journey that I have resisted because (a) writing is hard and (b) the chance I’ll make any real money is laughable. But I don’t make real money now, so who am I kidding.
Spending the summer the way I did, traveling and making writing – any kind of writing – a priority, cemented once again for me that writing is something I do. It is frustrating because the writing is never good enough. It is terrifying because what if, sometimes, they are good enough. It is fulfilling because I am entirely in control. And it is never, ever enough.
Growing up, I tried to avoid the skin, the label, of writer because even then I had a faint sense of the weight that comes along with that title. I used to think that being a writer meant that everything I wrote had to be good and as long as I never owned up to it, I could escape the weight of it. At the same time, I thought I could avoid being a teacher simply by stating I never wanted to go into education, all while I re-taught the day’s chemistry lesson to the kid who sat behind me in class. Teaching, like writing, was just something I did. It couldn’t be a career (Ha!). What I have come to see, slowly, is that being a writer, like being a teacher, was a journey I was already on, one that was taking me through my own life rather than waiting until I was ready to take it. And the weights – the desire to create, the need for the words to be perfect – were already on me. Like it or not, I am a writer. I might as well wear the skin.
It has been pointed out to me that writers, that is, writers who take themselves seriously, maintain writing blogs in order to have a professional face, however small, in the writing world. And so I have spent the evening giving this once-travel blog a new skin, literally, to match my own as a writer on the writer’s journey. And I have no idea where this trip will take me.