Over the years I’ve watched on Facebook as several friends engaged in a self-set challenge to produce a “sketch a day” to help improve their drawing and design abilities.
I like to draw, but I guess I like to write even more, though of late I’ve been pretty negligent about doing my own writing. I usually rationalize that because I have to write for a living for my business clients in a variety of industries, that I don’t have the time or will to crank out anything of my own.
We tell ourselves lies all the time.
I do add what I think are more thoughtful than average comments to websites on news topics (Ie., not trollish or abusive but also, hopefully, exhibiting some rational reason and balance). But those contributions obviously disappear into the anonymous circuitry of the vast Web and they do nothing for me beyond exercising my writing glands.
What it doesn’t do is produce anything resembling a body of work that I can point to and say, “that’s mine,” — whether to gauge my intellectual growth, calculate my range of interests and concerns, or just to hold it in my sandbox instead of someone else’s where I might be able to cobble it into something a might less ephemeral.
Writers Gonna Write
So I thought that in the spirit of Sketch-a-Day that I’d do an Essay-a-Day over the course of this August, a notoriously slow month in North American culture. I have less immediate daily work while my clients are away on vacation or because we’re doing backend work while gearing up for their coming busy season.
But the truth is I COULD find time for this at other times of the year if I valued myself enough to give me my time or thought that there was something worth saying.
I have no earthly idea what I’m going to write about during the coming 30 days. I might end up like Jack Torrance in King & Kubrick’s The Shining, merely hammering out, “All work and no play makes Lindsay a dull chick,” over and over again.
The only thing I do know is that I’ll commit to this process and see if there’s anything I can cull from the harshly painful and beautifully glorious observations I’m making about life in our times.
Don’t Call Me a Scold, Baby
Once upon a time a woman who I admire greatly called me a scold for my views/presentation on the topic dearest my heart — our responsibilities to steward our earthly home. I have barely written an essay since because, you know, who wants to be a scold. Especially the weak and easily discouraged like me. I want people to feel my love, not my judgement, because it’s my love that motivates me, not any bogus notion of self-superiority.
I’ve found, after 100s of articles on the topic of our environment, consumption, and waste that NO MATTER how I phrase that issue, I will ALWAYS be considered a scold. Even if Jesus was standing by my side and handing out gold bars to anyone who would listen, still I’d be considered a scold because almost no one — or at least only a very tiny minority — wants to hear that we need to change our ways vis a vis the earth, our only life support system, if we want to be truly good and healthy people who leave a decent legacy to future generations.
But it seems I can’t escape this topic, and perhaps can’t escape my cross of being accused of being a scold, even when I mention a million ways to have a gloriously amazing, meaningful, satisfying, and yes, aesthetically pleasing life without supporting wage slavery or crapping all over creation at the same time.
So I’m just going to accept this about myself — the scold accusation — and my take on consumption and waste will probably be at least some part of what I’m writing about in the coming days.
Or Maybe Not
But I might also write about less pressing things, like the wonders of the great TV show Northern Exposure, how to cook a really good chicken, how wretched it is as a woman to go silver-haired in a youth-forward culture, and my undying love for children’s books.
Or maybe I won’t write anything because I’m still scared, uncertain, and completely intimidated by the “don’t-scolders” of the world. And Internet trolls. And sounding dumb.
Stay tuned for tomorrow. I think.
— Lindsay Curren, Average American