Last weekend we made the short trek out to Bogart to have dinner with my aunt Jane, cousin Morgan and her boyfriend Evan the Superhero. While waiting on dinner (a perk of having family close by... FREE FOOD), conversation turned to my blogging. Jane is arguably one of my biggest blog fans and apparently has even gotten some of her co-workers to read my ramblings. And every time we talk about my blog, Jane says the same thing:
"You need to write. No, REALLY write. Like... a book."
When I was young, my dad wrote all the time. Short stories, Christmas carol parodies for his co-workers, essays, and novels. I remember him having my Mom read his drafts and seeing the manuscripts with pen marks criss-crossing them like a road-map. And the bulky envelopes stacked on top of each other being sent to agents and publishers. And a cursor blinking at the end of a paragraph while I read what he had just written. I was certain that Dad would be a famous author. That some publishing company would one day, finally, send back a positive response. But it never happened. And for a while he seemed to give up on his writing, the manuscripts banished to closets and file cabinets. But, while he may have thought that he failed, he had succeeded in passing on his love of writing to me. On top of any assigned writing for my Language Arts classes, I wrote poetry and short stories and historical fiction. When I was at the peak of nerdiness, I even read one piece aloud to my Social Studies class. For fun. I was super popular, folks. But, like my dad, somewhere along the way my passion for writing got pushed to the back burner. I became invested in my ballet training, musical theatre, acting. In college I tried to start a blog but didn't keep up with it and eventually deleted it. I kept a journal of poetry for a while, some of which was actually decent, but then stuck it in a box of memorabilia and forgot about it. My mom wanted me to write a story about the farms we passed on the way to the beach (oh, Cows in the Woods...) that just never got anywhere. But then I decided to start this blog. And to keep me accountable, I shared it with my family and friends. And somewhere between documenting my life and trying to make people laugh, I remembered my love for writing. And what might even be the best part is that I think I inspired my Dad to start his own blog, reminding him of his old love of the written word. Talk about returning the favor. As thanks for helping me find my voice, I give my dad back his own.
So now, like father like daughter, I consider taking my writing to the next level. I'm daunted by the memory of my Dad's frustrations (the pen scrawling on rough draft after rough draft, the rejection letters in the mail), but inspired by his talent and perseverance. So maybe Jane is write... maybe my writing is a dream worth pursuing. Maybe I will find that I have something worth saying. And then maybe I'll write. No, REALLY write. Like... a book.