In Which I Have Writer's Block
This weekend Rob and I spent a lot of time in our garage, getting rid of things and finally unpacking a few boxes that have been camped out since we moved into this house last summer. I found lots—and I really mean a lot—of journals, diaries, even old blog posts printed and bound in a most embarrassing fashion. There were drafts of personal essays, marked up by classmates and edited, rewritten, then marked up again. Stories about ex-boyfriends and a capella auditions that probably never should have taken place—college memories I was so certain would end up in a literary journal one day.
I have spent most of my life writing down every little thing. In elementary school I wrote stories, in middle and high school I kept journals, and then I discovered blogging in college and knew that theoretically anyone and everyone could read what I wrote but I never really thought anyone other than my roommates and mother would go out of their way to read my reflections on Greek Life, the weird regulars that frequented the coffee shop where I worked over the summer, discussions that took place in my Literary Criticism class, and/or how many miles I ran on any particular weekend.
But they did, and I loved it. I loved sharing my life online, loved hearing from people who enjoyed a particular essay I wrote or maybe had experienced something similar. You couldn’t pay me to read one of my essays in front of a crowd but every time I hit “publish” I felt a rush of excitement and a feeling of productivity—my story was out there.
I graduated and started working and continued to write and Rob and I found ourselves in a long-distance relationship, which lots of people have done, and again I felt seen and heard by readers who were going through or had gone through the same thing. It was less fun when my mom got cancer, or when my parents split up, but still those connections found their way through and made the burden feel a little easier to carry.
We moved and moved and moved again, and Freckled Italian remained. I started working with sponsors and realized that maybe I didn’t need to find a new “permanent” job in every city. I freelanced and temped and blogged and did my best to explore and enjoy every place we called home. I woke up on Sunday mornings and pulled my laptop into bed, coffee on the nightstand, and I wrote.
So yesterday morning, when I woke up earlier than usual to a house still sleeping, I tiptoed downstairs and brought my computer from my desk to my bedside, excited to write whatever came to mind. I snuggled back under the covers, put on my glasses, opened the laptop, and…nothing.
Just a blank screen and a blinking cursor.
And so that’s where I am now—working more and writing less, wondering where to go from here. Savoring every single little and big moment spent with my family, walking the dog and cooking and organizing random corners of the house but hardly ever folding the laundry within a reasonable timeframe—and doing my best to explore and enjoy California while we call it home.
For so long my dream was this blog—creating content and working with sponsors and growing my audience—but then Sophie came along and my priorities shifted slightly. I still love this space, and I love sharing parts of my life here, but sometimes I don’t know where to start—or how far to go. As my daughter gets older and develops more of a personality I find myself wanting to keep her more private. Pregnancy and labor and breastfeeding were very much my experiences, but after a certain point I feel like motherhood becomes less about me and more about her. My experience and her experience are deeply intertwined, but they’re still two different things, and I hope to always respect that.
What a long post I just wrote to tell you basically that I feel like I have nothing to write about—I guess that’s not true after all. Sometimes you just have to start and see where it takes you. I’d like to get back to more of that—I’m here for the rambling, somewhat cringeworthy and oh-so-journal-y posts of 2009 again.
PS I have a “newsletter” now where I sit down to write something every now and then that doesn’t go on the blog. I thought it’d be quarterly but so far it ‘s been every month, so I’m thinking I might send out a new one sometime soon. (But you know, no promises.) You can subscribe here if that sounds fun to you.
PPS Is it possible to have chapped lips for weeks and weeks? Because I have had chapped lips for weeks and weeks. Blog post forthcoming. (Just kidding.)