Rawe-struck

The wonder-filled life of a single older-ish mom.

Archive for the tag “play”

Back in the Sandbox

With summer officially over, I face the fact that—just like last summer—I gave my writing the silent treatment. I posted no blogs, which is doom and gloom because the publishing industry experts all say that if you want get your book published you’ve got to have a lot of followers and you don’t get followers if you don’t put stuff out there for people to find. And follow.

So I default to flogging myself with brutal mental beatings, chastising my lack of commitment and creativity. Then, sufficiently battered, I switch to allowing excuses to whine their way in—”but I’ve had a lot of clients,” blahdee blahbitty blah.

But if I’m honest with myself, I’ll fess up that I’ve felt stuck, voiceless, and when I’ve tried to write the words feel stiff. I start thinking about the followers, and can’t imagine I have anything of value to add to the din of voices out there vying for cyber attention. So I hide and don’t write, and I forget that this doesn’t need to be such serious business. I forget that my intention when I began Rawe-Struck was to be raw, and full of wonder, and that if even just one person felt a “me too!” connection with what I put out there, that would be enough.

I forget how playing with words lights me up. And I stop playing when I become self-concious about who’s watching.

I think about what I would tell Nina if she strayed from a practice she loved doing. The answer comes simply and clearly, “Just begin again.” I would advise her not to waste anymore time paralyzing herself with self-woven restraints of guilt or worry about what other people think. I would tell her to jump in and rediscover the joy of why she wanted to do that thing in the first place. Just begin again.

I would tell her that sometimes we lose sight of our path, and spend day after day poking about in the weeds. And a lot of fast-talking should-experts live in those weeds. We scurry around in circles with them for awhile, and figure we’ll get back on path someday.

I might tell her about this time right now, when I forgot about why I loved writing, and that my “someday” became a season. And that I realized that was ok. I’ll tell her I had the courage to return and this time—because I thought of how I would talk to myself if I were talking to her—I said, “Welcome back!” instead of “It’s about time, loser.”

I’ll tell her I even said to myself, “You’re right on time, sweet-cheeks. Now get back in that sandbox of words and play!”

Summer, A Platform

It’s been three months since my last post. In the past I’ve had seasons when my writing crop goes fallow, so to speak, and I’ve always returned to the business of farming words with heavy regret over how much time I’ve wasted. This time I’m trying to recite a different story — one of acceptance, possibly even celebration. Possibly.

For the past three months I squeezed the juice out of summer with my daughter. We swam, biked, baked, argued, snuggled, and wrestled with boredom. We travelled to make-believe places and real ones. We visited friends who are like family in Maine and dared one another to leap off the “jumping rock” into the lake. We reminded one another to say no when our instincts said not this high. We studied cobwebs and snails and moss, and I grew tired of cleaning muddy footprints tracked in the hallway. We butted heads, wiped tears from our eyes, and mopped sweat from our foreheads. It was mundane and wondrous and everything in between. At the end of the summer, we laid in the grass and said Phew, that was fun. I love you so, so much.

As a writer, I’m supposed to be “building my platform” — slinging my work into the world in hopes that fellow readers will chose to follow me so that someday a book publisher will have proof that I have something other people would be willing to hear. But to be honest, I wrestle with that. When I post something, anything, my hope is more that my little bit of the journey will resonate with someone else — that maybe one other soul out there will feel Yeah! Me too. Keeping track of the statistics about how many “followers” I have and which posts generate the most hits leaves me feeling hollow.

So this time, for the first time, I declare that I will not trade this summer of joy for the stench of shame over what I didn’t accomplish. I’ll focus on the platform that I did build . . . the one for my daughter, the one that’s brimming with memories of a childhood summer well-savored.

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— Amy Rawe

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