Digging into the past is a dangerous thing. You never know when you might unearth some dark secret, or awaken a vengeful and malevolent spirit. So yesterday it was with great trepidation that I dug back into the records of a world long dead. Back into the era of darkness and chaos. Back to the days when humanity grasped dimly at the gossamer strands of enlightenment. Back to the time when I had a MySpace page.
Of course, technically, I still do have a MySpace page. I haven’t been there in over a year, but I haven’t gotten rid of it either because the days when I was blogging on MySpace were also the days when I was first stepping into the world of writing. A fossilized record of the writer I was.
And yesterday, I went back, not sure what I was looking for, but completely unprepared for what I found.
If asked to judge in advance what my impression of myself as a writer five years ago would be, I think I would have predicted being repulsed by the pathetic tripe I used to dream up and foist on the three people who cared enough about me to read it. But if I was expecting tripe, what I found was…revelatory. The writer I used to be wasn’t half bad. Of course, there were rough edges that needed polishing and more than the occasional appearance of vapid and self-absorbed ramblings. But underneath all of that there was a natural exuberance, a free spirit that had found something it loved and embraced it with everything it had. That strange and unexpected past version of me hadn’t yet been told he was supposed to take his writing seriously and so had managed to create scattered bits of joyful prose with all the energy of a child at play.
It made me realize that somewhere along the line I had forgotten something vitally important. I had forgotten how to take joy in my writing. I had gotten into the routine of putting my shoulder to the grindstone and pounding away until I reached my word count, and deep in my heart I had a passion and a fire for the stories I was building. But the joy…the joy was fading away.
Maybe that’s the way it has to be. I know in my heart that if I want to succeed in any capacity as a writer I’ll have to work hard at it, toiling away for hours of my day honing my craft until my words sing and my sentences sizzle. But I don’t want to lose the joy entirely. The me that was had something that I still need.
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching about the direction I’d like this blog to take. I told myself I didn’t want to have just another blog about writing, that I wanted this blog to reflect some larger and deeper part of myself. But until yesterday, I’m didn’t know how to make it work. Now I think I have a clue.
The me that was needed a lot of polish, and now he’s had it. But the me that is needs to remember what is was like to throw myself into the void of possibility and become lost in the joy of creation. And that’s the best recipe for success I can dream of.
Because if I can pass even a little of that joy on to you, I believe you will keep coming back for more.