I Made It This Far

Well, it worked. Choosing random sentences kept me writing for the last few days. My best work? Not really, but there’s something there in a couple of them that I like. Overall, the fact that I was able to craft anything from them makes me happy, even if it does remind me of being back in high school. I never liked daily writing assignments—they feel so forced and artificial. Yet, here I am, imposing the same constraints on myself. And as far as “my best work” goes, there’s no objective measure—many times the pieces I love don’t seem to resonate with anyone else.

Am I a writer yet? Can I call myself that? (I wrote “am I a poet” and immediately felt a surge of panic, so I deleted it. That’s not a word I’m comfortable claiming for myself. It’s a sacred title conferred by others on the truly talented: Poet. It sparkles and shimmers, shining through the darkness. Even writ small, it’s too big a word for what I do. Why is that? Why such utter panic around one little word?) I started this blog to ask the question: am I a writer? Will I show up every day and work at it? So far, I’ve done a decent job showing up, but I fear that if I let myself answer the question, I’ll stop. Yes or no, I’ll stop. But if I let writing fall away, what’s left? Who am I then?

I don’t talk about writing when I’m out in the real world. If asked what I do, I don’t identify myself as a writer. Out there, that leads inevitably to the question of publication and payment. I can claim neither. Does that make me a fraud? I don’t know. I thought that doing this for a year would give me those answers. I expected to find a measure of confidence in myself that I had lacked. Clearly, I was wrong. Where does confidence come from? How can I get some? Am I really the same person who used to love nothing more that being on stage? What happened?

I hide here in my life, not wanting to draw attention to myself, yet craving attention, missing applause. How do I reconcile these parts of myself? How do I answer my own questions? I made it this far…now what?

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