Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

I don't write New Year's Resolutions. Instead, every year on the eve of my birthday, I sit down and make a list of "What I Want to Do While I'm ____ Years Old." As I face the waning hours of being thirty-seven, I must admit that I did not accomplish much on my list this past year. Yes, I can use the excuses that I work full-time and I'm a single mom to two small kids and that as a trio we've faced some challenges this year that aren't to be shared on cute Facebook posts. But, I also know that you make time for what matters to you . . . and writing matters to me. I pledged to myself that as a 37-year-old I would write more, and I didn't. So tonight, I'm giving myself the birthday present of this blog in hopes that thirty-eight will be better.

I've always loved to write. I love the way that paper smells. I love the way that paper feels after newly indented with ink or granite. In fact, most of the time that I type an article or book review or just minutes from a meeting on my computer keyboard, I've first written it out on paper.

As a child, I often would grab a blanket and spread it out in my front yard or back yard or in a corner of my dad's garden. Then I would open up a spiral notebook, pop open a Bic pen and write. About anything and everything. I started my autobiography when I was eight years old. I still remember the opening line: "I wouldn't say my childhood was always the best time, but is it really supposed to be?" I occasionally would write poems, but not very often. I wrote lots of letters to Ricky Schroder. Sometimes I would write fictional short stories. In fact, I won the weekly creative writing contest in my fourth grade class sixteen times. I don't share this to brag on my nine-year-old self. But instead, I think back on those affirmations of my writing while at James H. Harrison Elementary in Laurel, Maryland as an early sign that a piece of my happiness and my creative fulfillment would be found in writing.

When I got old enough to drive and was granted the car keys, I would take a blanket to the lake near my high school and write. I would put my feet in the grass, watch the birds fly across the water, and pour my teenage heart onto the page. Sometimes I would write about silly crushes or how I was getting along with my parents. Other times I would project myself into the future and write about my life in 2000 or 2025. I asked a lot of questions on those pages, most of which I would never speak out loud. I ranted through the ink about politics and current events. Even as an adult, some of my favorite writing has come from sitting by a lake on a blanket. And, I still rant about politics and current events, among other things.

Notebook and a Blanket is a reminder to me of how my love for writing started -- by grabbing an old blanket and some blank sheets of paper -- and to cultivate even deeper that love I have for how words strung together in just the right way look like a work of art and how each carefully crafted syllable, when spoken aloud, sounds like music.

I want to offer myself the gift of coming to this blog often. I want to write about working and parenting and religion and music and sports and, yes, still politics as well. Maybe no one else will read it, but I like knowing that I've created it and I'm putting my writing out there again.  The blog doesn't look particularly fancy yet, but I'll work on that. I've purchased, and I'll figure out how to make it link to this account. That all will come. But tonight, with less than two hours left before I begin to tackle my "What I Want to Do While I'm 38 Years Old" list, I just wanted to start.

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