One of the reasons why I made this blog is because I'm trying to learn to sit with the discomfort of saying: I'm in the middle of something. I don't know how it ends. I don't have a smooth, finished story about my journey to give you.
But I want to be present anyway. I want to talk to you.
One of the cardinal rules of memoir-writing is "give it time". I was in a class recently with Natalie Lima - who wrote this essay, one of my favourites of the last few years. And she was talking about how it would have been impossible to write this essay a few years - or even a few months - before she did. When you're standing too close to something, she said, it's hard to see the shape of the story that it ought to take.
She's totally right, of course. But I wonder, from my own experiences, if there isn't also a flip side to this rule. One about what happens when you give life too much space - when you're always waiting and waiting for that perfect accomplishment or anecdote, that can tie your efforts up in a neat little bow, and make them seem meaningful to other people. When you're always waiting for the story to end before opening your mouth, so that you can guard against the vulnerability of potential embarrassment.
Maybe something gets lost too, in a life lived that way. When you're living "a life by publishable essay", so to speak. I don't know why other people write blogs - but increasingly, I'm realising that I made this one to outrun (and outwrite) this particular tendency in myself. I don't want to be that person who waits until the big book deal, to write a major precis of every success-oriented step they took over the past five years. That kind of writing is so, so important, obviously, and really beneficial for the writing community - I'm grateful that it exists! But it's not what I came here to do.
I came here to be messy. And a person who's trying - and potentially, failing - in a semi-public space. It's a different kind of emotional muscle - and not one that I have much experience flexing. I hope that it brings other people (and most importantly, myself) something, to see me use it like this.