This Blog Post Is Dumb
The path to writing well is paved by writing badly, or at least that’s the path I’m taking. This was not a path I chose. It seems to have chosen me. It wasn’t always this way. Before entering CSU’s MFA program as a student of fiction, everything I wrote was good, or at least good enough, as determined by me and the handful of scattered friends I could convince to read my writing, which was most often in the form of haphazard blog posts or emails, or a witty Facebook post, every “like” of which I took as proof of my decided-upon ability as a writer. On January 20, 2014, four people liked that I thought that, “Denial IS just a river in Egypt.” I had it: proof. It took taking writing in earnest, seriously even, for others, and even myself, to look at writing and judge: “this is bad.”
I’m not saying I’m a terrible writer (though judge away, reader); I’m saying I often feel this way. This is the price of high expectations, from myself, from my classmates, and from my professors. Their critical eyes and opinions, while helpful, can sometimes be paralyzing, to the point where I don’t want to put pen to paper or hand to keyboard. They don’t love everything I write?! And me by association?! Achtung!! A seed of doubt can be motivating. Let that seed grow and it can strangle the motivation and lifeblood necessary to feel so bold as to think that I have something worth writing, and that others might want to read it. Letting that seed grow has caused me everything from a fleeting moment of anxiety that I handled with a handful of potato chips to the question that I dare not whisper in the deepest corners of the basement of the library, even with the lights off, because I stayed until they turned off the lights. That question: “Why am I here?”
And why am I here? I could be anywhere and yet I am here. I could be on an aircraft carrier right now. I’m not saying I want to be on aircraft carrier, but I could be on one. I could have stayed in the Navy and moved to yet another military town and gone on yet another deployment and it would have been fine. It might not have been fine, but I would have lived. I might not have lived, but it would have been fine. I’ve not liked deployment before and I could not like it again. That feeling is a known quantity. But no, I knew it was time for me to leave the Navy. And so I could have gotten a job, with my Navy connects, or could have studied a subject that had precedence with my Navy colleagues, who are people both good and great, and who I admire. And yet I did this. I wrote this sentence.
Writing doesn’t make me special. It doesn’t make me pretty. It doesn’t even make me a good writer. But it’s the path I chose. It’s an acknowledgment of something that’s inherent to me. I spent the better part of my life being a writer and reader only in theory, smug in my internal assertion of all the artistic potential that was yet to be. And then I started writing. And here I am. I be. I pushed the cursor forward. There’s nothing sacrosanct of what could be. There is only the imperfect product of what is. All the good, the bad, and the boring that comes of the words that I create: at least I created them. Whatever comes of it is better than what comes without it.
This blog post is dumb. It’s not even good. It’s terrible. And so what if it is? So what?