Day 46 – the blog posts that weren’t and the one that is

This daily posting is funny. Sometimes things will roll around in my head, the draft of a post that will gel the next day, or maybe the day after. Sometimes I’ll go into a meditation with something nearly fully cooked in my head, then come out of it with something else entirely. Ever since yesterday’s funk, as I’ve watched stuff bubble up there’s been some draft posts brewing in my head – ones that now will never be written but deserve honourable mention as part of my process and part of how today’s post came to be.

The first would have be titled:

Day 46 – oh shut the hell up!

And would have touched on my ramped up monkey mind trying to sift through all the the exciting, scary, inspiring, and ego identity threatening things going on in my life. And my efforts to try and explore my vulnerability, and go to scary places publicly while protecting my boundaries and still having a private life. I’m here to share my process in the hopes it means something to somebody else’s process. But when my process involves people who may be reading what I write it’s been becoming increasingly difficult to step up, be candid, be sincere, yet still somehow protect myself, keep my stuff, MY stuff no matter who reads it. So my monkey mind has latched on to all of this and has been thinking very hard about this puzzle trying to find the answer and fix it so I can continue on with this project. And all I want to do is tell that monkey to just shut the hell up! ’cause as I said in Day 1 I know very well there’s no way to think my way out of this problem.


On the flip side of trying to think my way out of a problem or struggle to be authentic the other blog post that didn’t happen was going to be called:

Day 46 – crowdsourcing my angst

I’ve had this bloody Radiohead song keep popping up into my awareness and I could never figure out why. Usually there’s some line or idea that catching me on a subliminal level and rings a clear message through. But I’d be damned if I could think of what Fake Plastic Trees had to do with what was going on in my life. So I was going to crowdsource it, link to this video and ask people what they thought it meant if they let go of the literal and treated it like an allegorical wisdom tale. Maybe somebody could see something I couldn’t.

But none of that is relevant now ’cause this morning I had an epiphany (incidentally and co-incindentally I had said epiphany at church – so, can I get an AMEN?) As I’ve been trying to figure out how to go on with this project with any kind of authenticity (re: Fake Plastic Trees), struggling to be myself, find myself, while still protecting myself. The dichotomy of being open and responsive to people and maintaining my privacy, the push and pull of that… “it wears me out.” I just want the space to be able to explore all that without being troubled with how people are responding to it. And thinking: bloody hell when I get through this project I’m going to be writing nothing but fiction. I need that buffer. That space.


Then it occurs to me, I can start writing fiction whenever I want. It’s my project. It’s my rules. So, this post (if it wasn’f full of the almost-posts) should have been called:

Day 46 – liars and storytellers

Looking at what fiction does, why would I want to write it. In addition to the reasons I thought I couldn’t write fiction laid out in How the Semicolon Ruined my Sex Life, was the mere fact I wasn’t a liar. I’m no bloody good at making stuff up, and am rather attached to the idea of telling the truth. Eventually I came to realize the difference between liars and storytellers is liars tell stories to hide the truth, storytellers tell stories to reveal a deeper truth.

So I can do that here. I can tell stories, things that are of me, but aren’t me. I get to continue to be authentic and explore what I need to, but I get to have the buffer I need to protect my own personal integrity. And I still get to take risks and do some scary things. I’ve learned to push myself down uncomfortable paths, because I know it’s good for me, expands my world. But today I realized putting yourself in uncomfortable situations on matter of principle is just self-abuse. Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations because it takes you places you haven’t been, now that’s worth going through.

So I’m not putting myself through the discomfort of publicly displaying some very sensitive struggles, but I am going to step up and do the scary thing of publicly displaying my efforts to write fiction (something I’m not very good at, and don’t have much confidence in). Some of that fiction may explore the stuff I’m working on in my life, but I’m now free to look at that from other points of view, write about what I imagine things look like through other eyes. My life is my own again, but my curiosity, my explorations I can continue to share.

I can’t promise what I put up will be any good, I can’t promise it will even tie together. I can’t even promise a coherent short story every day. All that may come out if me is a verbal doodle: a descriptive line or idea that catches me that day. But I’ll continue to post daily, I’ll continue to work on my own stuff, and I may even continue to put up the odd narrative of what’s going on for me when it gels and feels relevant.

But for the first time in weeks I’m excited about posting again, excited about a challenge, excited about taking my writing craft someplace new! I’ve been doing this narrative non-fiction philosophizing stuff for 3 years now, I don’t think I need daily practice in that. But trying to make something up every day… that’s an exciting challenge I have no idea how I’m going to pull off!

Woot! Woot!

5 thoughts on “Day 46 – the blog posts that weren’t and the one that is

  1. Regarding your “Liars and Storytellers” I use fiction like you use movies. I think the technical term for how I use reading is Bibliotherapy. I read voraciously. When I wasn’t working I was reading about 4 novels every two or three weeks. And if I ever move, don’t be in a hurry to volunteer because I’ll be taking all my books, including my collection of literature by and about the Chinese experience here in America and in China which takes up a whole book case.

    I love what you said about Storytellers telling stories to reveal a deeper truth. I often find lots of wisdom to digest as I read about characters (true or not) and their experiences, their relationships, their reflections. For me reading about someone’s story is more intimate, more meaningful than reading most self help books. I see myself in most stories, even the story “World of Hurt” that Valerie wrote. Maybe that is why I had such a strong response to it.

    Reading is one way I explore my inner landscape to figure out who I am and how I move in my world. I look forward to reading your fiction…and discovering another facet of myself.


  2. “There’s no such thing as autobiography, there’s only art and lies.” Jeannette Winterson, _Art and Lies_, 1996.

    Woot Woot, Valerie, glad you’re excited about posting fiction.

    I’ve been wondering why I start and stop posting. I stop on my bad days (as well as some busy days.) My intention was to be able to write here on bad days, and find more worth in those days, or in myself. Let them exist more. I feel I don’t want to drag bad days into any of my relationships, or my communities. Partly doubting the strength of communities and relationships. Maybe I also don’t want to be responsible for the impact, the atmosphere, of dragging crap in. And almost all my relationships involve a shortage of time, so again, not how I want to use that short time.

    I’ve been trying to own my bad days more, carry more. Because sometimes it helps to give myself the chance to be “fine.” And sometimes not, but then what? If I wasn’t depressed, I might be able to change my story midway, but it’s hard to change it when I do need to. Hah. Nor do I know if it would help. I do want to carry some, but when depressed, the only way I feel I’m taking any responsibility is if I carry everything, keep quiet about everything.

    I like laughing at depression with other people. I’m just mean when I mock it alone. And like your epiphany, there are mantras that can give me some peace, even some that others can tell me. Discovering that I have an opinion that I’d forgotten can help, too. Sometimes journalling or talking makes things worse, but I haven’t tried either for a while.


    1. I think dear magpie, as I struggle with vulnerability, independence and interdependence, there is some way of being open on the bad days too. Sharing your stuff without dumping it on other people (or letting other people muck about in it). Like show and tell: you display it, but it’s still yours to take home.

      Just as everybody else needs to mind their own business and not try and pick yours up just because you’re sharing it, you can mind your business and not worry about anybody fool enough to pick up something that isn’t theirs.

      Whenever you have the courage, I encourage you to share the bad stuff too. It means a lot, having companions in this exploration, especially when I’m splunking dark places. And whenever possible, I promise to laugh at those shadows with you.


  3. Here’s Wordsworth again.

    “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

    “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquiity.”

    Sounds like Valerie and Wordsworth are in sync.


    1. “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.”

      — I love that! And so true! Just because I’m going to be making stuff up, doesn’t mean it doesn’t still come from “the breathings of my heart”


      On that note: on the CD jacket of my Harry Manx album is a Rumi quote:

      “Please existance, play some song or something through me”

      I think that’s as good a prayer as any to kick of the next 54 days…


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