I’m finishing an article on How to Build a Cold Frame for Carolina Gardener. Who knew it could be so difficult to find an actual cold frame to photograph? If I weren’t desperate to find one, I’d probably see ten or twelve on my way to school in the morning.
What I’m discovering about myself as I finish this article and wait for my form rejection letter from another publication and read Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird” is that writing with the end goal as publication is really not all that fun to me. Even writing this blog seemed burdensome and like something else that had to be crossed from my long to-do list when I was thinking in terms of creating a huge readership and landing a gig like that of Catherine Newman, one of my favorite bloggers. She is currently writing a food blog for Family Fun magazine but continues to write in her funny, crazy hippie mom way, which is what I first fell in love with when she used to write for Parenting.com. That’s my dream job.
Or maybe my dream job is teaching part-time, being a full-time mommy and writing “The World According to Stacey” in my spare time for a handful of thoughtful, or very bored, friends. What I like about writing is the chance to write what I think about things, which as Rob will tell you, I feel is crucially important. I also like being able to express myself in the way I’m best at. I like to talk… a lot, but I don’t always express my real feelings or opinions unless a pen and piece of paper are involved. And, finally, I just like the way words look on a page. I like the way I can change things around and mix things up and completely change the whole tone of what I’m saying.
I like words. I like spelling. That sounds bizarre, but I really do love spelling. I love the way letters string together to make beautiful, unusual, descriptive, essential, and sometimes even gross and ugly words. Maybe that’s why I loved spelling tests in school. I never understood the anxiety surrounding spelling tests, and I rocked the yearly spelling bee (although I never made it past the regional bee– damn “apropos”.)
Rob always talks about how he reads in chunks. He says that he scans a page and recognizes most of the main words and can just skim the paragraph rather than reading each individual word. That’s how he reads so fast. This is a completely foreign concept to me. I read each individual word, and while I used to be a little jealous of his speed reading (particularly in grad school), I’m glad that I don’t read that way now. I want to read every word, see every letter and take in every nuance of the words printed on the page. No skimming for me.
So I guess writing may not become a “job” for me, and maybe it shouldn’t. Maybe it should be something fun, a hobby, a passion, a creative diversion. Maybe that’s how I will say something worthwhile and become good. In the meantime, I can build an awesome cold frame for the spring.
So I guess my discovery is that just putting words on a page is what is fun; it doesn’t matter if anyone deems it worthy or even reads it all. Sometimes I think I might even prefer it that way. It allows me to write for the right reasons, my mental health and fun.