This post is a little terrifying for me to write.
I’ve redrafted it again and again. Supposedly though, I am a “writer.” I recently graduated with a degree in English; a degree that includes over 90 papers and one labor-of-love yearlong thesis project. By definition, this makes me a “writer.” But I don’t meet the stereotypes of being the aspiring, Dead Poet’s Society-esque English teacher or the moody, artsy coffee-shop haunting writer with a calendar of spoken word performances booked. In fact, for the past 8 months since graduating, I have not written a word apart from the casual social media post and the messy scramble of thoughts and memories that is my personal journal. However, I need to be writing, and that’s what has brought me here.
I’ve come up with plenty of excuses to avoid writing in any formal way. I’m burnt out from college. I have nothing to say. I have nothing new to say. I don’t want to write anything offensive. My grammar is a shame to the major that is English. Does the world really need one more blog or “open letter” post on Facebook? I don’t have the time or the discipline to write regularly. What if I’m no good at this? What if my mom is my only reader (Hi, Mom!)? What if this is a desperate attempt to meet those dreaded questions, like “how are you putting your degree to use?”
But above all that noise, there is a resounding cry to write. This cry comes from:
A New Season
I am in a new, unexpected, uncharted season; I am a recent college graduate, a recent cross-country migrant (NC ⇒ OH), a newlywed, and a part-time zoo employee (yes, that’s right – a zoo; like I said – unexpected). Now that the dust has settled from graduating, moving, and wedding planning, I realized this is technically the most “unproductive” season I’ve been in for a long while: I’m not pulling all-nighters any more to meet a due date; a new place = a social life under construction; my husband works 50-55 hrs. a week, leaving me with a lot of time to myself; and for our present way of life, me working a part-time job suits us well. “Unproductive” would never be a word I would use to describe my personality though, so this new season is scary, but I’ve realized, necessary – necessary for rest, refocusing, and refining interests and pursuits. For the first time in a long time, I can devote attention and creativity to my writing.
Apart from being an English major, I call myself a “writer,” not because I have pursued writing professionally in any way (for now) or because I have a journal full of cathartic poetry sitting on my nightstand (no one would want that – I truly am awful at poetry). It is my great need to write that makes me a writer. The written word is a way for me to process, to create, to speak, to think, to learn. And thus, I am a “writer.” But more than just filling journal after journal with my thoughts, I need a more objective outlet. Left alone with my thoughts for too long, and I tend to get stuck in them – my own swirling mental whirlpool. Writing to publish helps me swim out of that whirlpool, to think through things as they truly are, not just as I perceive them. This blog is as much for me as it is for anyone else.
A Nudge (or Two… or Three…):
I’m not one who has many tangible gifts. My husband is one of those *infuriating* people who can pick up any instrument and play a catchy tune or any sport and be the top scorer. That’s not me. I can’t sing well, play an instrument well, play a sport well, paint a masterpiece well, bake and decorate an award-winning cake well. etc. However, I believe I can write. Not only do I enjoy it and need it, but I have been affirmed in it throughout my life – hence pursuing English. Recently though, I have been thinking on 1 Peter 4:10 that calls us to “…use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. (NIV)” I have grown convicted that writing is one of my God-given gifts, but I am not being faithful to use it to serve others. I have a part in retelling His story uniquely as He tells it to me. And because God often needs to spell things out for me, several individuals recently and separately encouraged me to consider starting a blog. After much prayer, their encouragement gave me just enough of an affirming nudge to push me over the edge to write, and this seems right. It’s the “write” season.
And so, here we are. I am starting a blog. Maybe it won’t become anything more than me writing out into the vast online void. Maybe I won’t have any more readers than my mom and those couple of friends who encouraged this. Maybe I am fearfully opening myself up to a lot of vulnerability and critique in my life. Maybe I’ll still make a lot of grammar mistakes. And yet, those things are ok (and feel free to remind me of that). I have a need to write and a calling to use my gift to write, and for now, this is the best way I know how to fulfill those things.
What can you expect from this blog? Well, you can probably expect a lot of musings on theology, post-grad life, married life, moving, millennial/”post-truth”/Trump America life, attempts at humor, family memories, amateur photos, what I’m reading, recipes, feeble homemaking how-tos, and whatever else is sent down my path. Don’t set expectations on consistency though (again, please feel free to keep me accountable!). I don’t have a grand vision or target audience for this little corner of the internet under my care, but as C.S. Lewis once said: “To a man on a mountain road by night, the glimpse of the next three feet of road may matter more than a vision of the horizon.”[i] So this is my next three feet of writing as I share with you my glimpses of the next three feet of life. Care to walk down this path with me?
[i] Quoted in A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken, 1980, p.101-102, Harper One Publishing.