I woke this morning to a comment from the lovely Julie Christine of the Chalk the Sun blog, letting me know that she had nominated Ordinary Canary for a Versatile Blogger Award. I have been a fan of Julie’s writing for quite a long time now, so this was a particularly nice way to begin my Sunday. And if you’ve never read her incredibly poetic and honest blogging, I really think you should go do so now.
In many ways, discovering Chalk the Sun has been helping me revitalize this blog, which has suffered from a lack of purpose. I’ve kept this blog as a place to share parts of my life with family and friends; as a result, the focus of it tends to change as I do. My passions shift; sometimes it is photography, sometimes fiber arts, sometimes writing and yoga. This blog has also now been around so long that my life is dramatically different from when I began it. When I started writing here, I was more than a little lost and trying to figure out what my next direction would be. A few months after my first post, nearly everything in my life shifted direction simultaneously. It took a while for me to wrap my head around what all of that meant for me. In the end, the dust settled and brought me into my thirties as a different person from what I could have possibly predicted when I typed my first entry.
I have often thought about removing the first few years of content, because it’s always a little cringe-worthy to think about the person that you used to be, just hanging around waiting for people to discover her. I no longer remember all the things I wrote between 2007 and 2013. Heck, I’m lucky to remember what I wrote yesterday. Did I write something terrible that I would regret now? What is the impact? What will people think of me? Worst of all — was my writing awful and immature?
Yet a good part of why I write here is to get more comfortable with putting my writing out in the open, for anyone to discover. By nature, I am a perfectionist, but writing is not an activity in which it is possible to achieve a perfect score. Even an author as widely accepted as Hemingway had a large group of people that hated his work, including his own mother. Certainly a good part of what has held me back as a writer is my fear of opening up to an audience that I do not know. But I know, like so many other things, this is just a question of practice. So I leave up the early writings, as a practice in letting my soul stay open and receptive.
Chalk the Sun was an inspiration to me in that regard, because here was an example of someone that was walking down the same path that I’m trying to walk — and she’s doing a beautiful job of it. I started reading Julie’s blog when she was just putting down the first words of her first novel. Now I am watching her send out her finished draft to beta readers. Along the road, I have followed her journey, read her book reviews (and followed up by reading more than one of her suggestions) and admired her ability to honestly share the painful parts of her life with the world. I have worked to incorporate some of that into Ordinary Canary as well, because I am really trying to take myself seriously now as a writer–and because I admire it.
As part of the VBAs, you are meant to nominate fifteen other blogs that you read that are good quality. Mine are as varied in topic as the rest of my life. Here goes: