So I have been hiding underneath a rock. Again. It all started with a two-week hiatus from work: Winter break (I work in a school district) followed by a week-long trip down south to Corpus Christi, Texas to introduce Fusband to my dad’s side of the family. I think I can safely say that if Fusband hasn’t left me yet, after meeting all of my family on both sides–all of whom are more or less as crazy as me, he probably never will.
That’s good news.
The bad news? I haven’t been writing. In fact I think I have written probably four versions of this post and deleted each one, except for this one. No matter how messy this one gets, I have decided that I need to post it just to get back on the horse. Darn horses.
I had decided before I left on vacation that I wasn’t going to write during the break. Every time I go home it feels like a mini-vacation. I end up doing almost nothing productive. This time I knew would be worse. I would be seeing my brother for the first time in six months, and then I would get to see my dad’s side of the family for the first time in two years. I didn’t want to spend any time writing, when I could be spending it with them.
On top of all of that I have this new gig: writing reviews for the Portland Book Review (PBR). I received my first two books the first week of break and the due date was January 4th. I managed to get the books read in enough time to write the reviews (which was no small feat considering I was on vacation and one of the books was a fully annotated folio edition of Macbeth). But I couldn’t bring myself to write the reviews.
Please keep in mind that the PBR is basically a newsletter. Keep in mind that all I had to do to get them to send me books to review (which I get to keep once I review them) was to send an email asking to become a reviewer. Keep in mind that the reviews are no more than 200 words long, I do not get paid, and that I love reading, I love writing, and I am naturally opinionated. Some would even say VERY opinionated. But I don’t like to talk to those people.
This should have been easy. It should have been a cinch. I should have been able to do it with my eyes closed. But it didn’t happen. To be fair the day the reviews were due I was helping baby sit for my cousins who were in the hospital giving birth to their second son Eli. I was a little busy.
But since then, the reviews still haven’t happened, and I believe it is because I am scared. Like so many other things in life, this writing thing is only going to happen for me if I write. The fact that my success, more or less, depends solely on me is rather intimidating. You would think that it would be a comfort, but the idea that I might not have what it takes is a pervasive doubt. What if I don’t have the talent? What if I don’t really have the ambition? What if I let it slip through my fingers?
I look at other bloggers/writers who are going out there and conquering. I look at them landing agents, starting businesses, freelancing, publishing and it is all rather daunting. If I step back and look at my chronological timeline of life I see events that I made happen and I marvel at them: living abroad for a year, biking cross-country, serving with VISTA. They are all things that I did. I made it happen and sometimes I don’t know who that person is. She is outgoing, fearless, interesting.
Sitting in front of a blank page does not make me feel outgoing, fearless, or interesting. It just makes me feel scared. Writing this blog makes me scared. I have had more doubts starting this blog and more self-questioning/loathing than is reasonable. Each post is an emotional roller coaster, slipping through the highs and lows of “This is absolutely amazing” to “everything is s****” so fast I now have emotional whip-lash. With the blog I can at least pretend that no one is reading. But with PBR I know for a fact that at least two people will read my reviews for sure. The Editors.
Kill me now.
Each time I think I have a handle on the whole review thing, I begin to doubt my education. Am I qualified to tell these writers what I really think about their books? Is my opinion even valid? I do not think my self-doubt would be so bad, if I had liked both of the books that I read. One was amazing, but the other was more boring than a moldy, empty pinata in an abandoned garage. But do I really know what a boring book is? Do I know enough about the authors subject to be critical? To say that she has written nothing new, offered no new insight, or at the very least has failed to present old material in a new and interesting way?
I don’t know.
I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.