Posted by: Christine L. | February 13, 2010

No one will be reading this, right? Ever? Good.

It’s not that I don’t want anyone to read this.  It’s not even that I’d be upset if anyone who knew me found out I was writing it.

It’s just that every time I start a blog, I make the mistake of telling someone about it – a friend, a family member, my husband – and then I get all self-conscious about what I’m writing, and wind up avoiding it altogether.

The thing is, I like to write.  I used to write a lot when I was a kid, and in college.  Back then (the late ’70’s), we didn’t have this fabulous Internet thingy, so we actually had to write with pencils and pens, on paper. (Papyrus scrolls were still available, but sneered at amongst the truly tech-savvy.)

Oh, yeah, there were typewriters too.  If you could afford ’em.  I longed for an IBM Selectric but could only afford a used Brother.

That was a portable typewriter, by the way, not a sibling. I actually had a brother (sibling) too, but my folks kicked him out of the house when he was 17 years old (they got tired of him punching holes in the wall when he was pissed off – guess he got a little expensive to maintain).

But I digress!  (Get used to it!)

Anyway, the thing is, I used to write a lot.  Then the funniest thing happened.  Home computers were invented and became widely available.  All of a sudden EVERYONE was writing on those funny TV typewriters (r.i.p. Peter McWilliams), and lucky me: I quit college and managed to snag an entry level job in the glamorous field of Word Processing, baby!

And all of a sudden – I stopped writing.

See, when writing becomes your job – especially writing OTHER people’s words for them, which was what this job consisted of – your fingers get tired. You get this wonderful thing called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which means if you type for too long on a keyboard, your wrists get this dull ache and you have to stop and put ice on them.

Eventually I wound up having surgery on both wrists, one after the other. The scars are on the back of my wrists, and I used to enjoy telling people, when they asked me about them, that I’d tried to commit suicide but I was dyslexic. (I dumped that joke after one too many blank stares, but it’s yours now. Enjoy.)

And now I’m reaching that point I always get to, when I’ve been writing for more than a few paragraphs and the engine is humming and I really have a lot of thoughts waiting in line to check out, like the line at Ralph’s on double-coupon Wednesdays: I want to stop. I want to stop writing because my wrists are a teensy bit sore.

But also:   I’m afraid to finish it.

I’m afraid because I think if I keep going, I’m not going to be able to stop.  Or that I will go on and on and not really say anything worthwhile, that anyone will want to read.  I panic.  I fear.  I nightmare.

Is that a verb, “to nightmare”?  If it isn’t, it should be.  It works.  Because this morning, about half an hour before I got up, I nightmared about just such a scenario.  I was walking around outside and there was this weird guy who looked an awful lot like that nerdy scientist in the 1985 movie “Reanimator” .

He was showing me his butterfly collection, and getting ready to collect a new specimen.  I was appalled, and tried to gently suggest to him that perhaps he could find some way to learn about butterflies without killing any more.

He just looked at me, sneering, and said, “Are you a vegetarian?”

And I couldn’t answer!  And in the dream, I thought, “Wow, that would make a great beginning to a story, wouldn’t it?  I’ve gotta wake up and start writing that!”

Then, still in the dream, I woke up and remembered – I don’t write any more!

Or do I?  Because then I woke up for real.  And got online.  And here I am, on WordPress, starting a new blog, not telling anyone about it, and hoping, once again, that this will be the Blog that Ends All Other Blogs. The one that makes the five or six I’ve started and stopped over the past few years look like the practice runs they were, rather than the best I could ever hope to achieve.

I don’t know.  I just don’t know.  And I apologize to anyone who’s read this far, because I’m rambling now.  And I know it.  And I’m going to try and be more organized, more careful, more streamlined in my future posts.

But for now, I’m going to stop, publish, and go outside.

Maybe there’s a butterfly out there I can follow around for a while.


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