My words seem to have dried up.

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I have a notebook that I carry with me everywhere I go. I pull it out of my purse often, to scribble – or build on – ideas for blog posts. When I use an idea, I scratch it out. There are many ideas in my notebook that have not been scatched out. Yet I have not written a post in a month …. Each time I try, something awful comes screaming to the forefront of everyone’s consciousness, and I can’t think of anything to say.

France.

Belgium.

Afghanistan.

Pakistan.

Iraq.

Bangladesh.

The Philippines.

France again.

Africa, all over the bloody continent.

Syria.

Russia.

America, America, America – and its cursed love affair with guns.

Trump.

Dallas cops dead. Black lives matter. All lives matter.

Plane crashes under mysterious circumstances.

Hostages taken, used as collateral – and murdered while cameras roll.

Children abused, children missing, children murdered.

Each time some new, awful headline leaps out at me from the newspaper or the internet, I try to make sense of it. I think about how I might frame it – what I could say about it. Then, I think about how many ways I’ve said the same damn thing over the same damn things – and I wonder what’s next. Heavy-hearted and just plain tired, I shrug and move on, because there isn’t anything else I can do. I have no comfort to offer because I’m fairly certain the next spectacularly rotten failing of humanity is just waiting to extinguish whatever tiny flicker I can coax to glow. And I’m not about to join the ranks of slacktivists hashtagging memes and feeling like they’ve made a difference when all they’ve done is add to the noise …. I can’t see that being satisfying or even meaningful.

So I guess I’m taking a break from writing …. ? I’m about to hit the road with my three favourite faces – our road trip is just minutes away. When I’m on the road, I tend to stay away from the internet. I get the odd bit of news from the free newspaper that some hotels hand out with their morning offering of coffee and muffins (or stale donuts or decisively firm pastries or, if we’re far enough south, biscuits and sausage gravy), or the radio. Ryan or Fiona or Bridget might announce something to me. But I won’t be drowning in it like I am here at home, wave after wave of sorrow and cruelty crashing over me while I start to understand why so many people tune out and watch videos of kittens.

I’ll be back. Life is still beautiful – and filled with things for me to get ornery about, too. And I will, of course, have to report on all the crazy, weird and wondrous things I come across as we wander across the map of North America. In the meantime, I pray peace and compassion and good will for us all.

 

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My very own blog!

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Today, I’ve finally done it – I’ve started a blog. I know, I know: who doesn’t have a blog? There are dogs, cats and horses with their own blog. There are approximately a grazillion other Beths with blogs, according to the Google.

For years, I’ve stood outside, looking in on the exciting world of bloggers. I have always loved to write, and I’ve kept a journal almost continuously since the age of seven. There’s just something satisfying about seeing my own words on paper …. It was a way to process events, a way to release and validate my feelings, a way to catch and hold moments that might otherwise have flown away, leaving no trace. Blogging, though, seems to be so much more than journaling. My words, published – public. People reading my writing – people I know, and even strangers. Agreeing, disagreeing, soaking in my carefully turned phrases. Perhaps even quoting them later, or even sharing a whole article with their friends.

So, what stopped me? A few things …. I am a terrible combination of perfectionist and procrastinator. To attain perfection, one must be diligent. If, however, one is adept at finding reasons to not do something, one finds that one’s tasks are often rushed and unpolished. A perfectionist would never allow anything that’s less than perfect through the gates. It’s the chicken and the egg and the chicken and the egg – and no blog. There was also a nasty voice inside my head, asking “who do you think you are”. Do I seriously think people are going to read my words, enjoy and relate, and even think that what I offer up is worth passing on? Really? How arrogant! I’ve read many blog posts that left me thinking sadly “I could never have said it like that – that’s just perfect”. Why would anyone read my post when they could read someone else’s – someone who says it just perfectly? How could I even have enough to say to fill more than a month’s worth of posts?

The temptation, though, has finally outstripped my reservations. The house is clean, for the next fifteen minutes, at least. Nothing needs painting or repair. The holidays are over, and the frenzy of activity surrounding them. There’s no one I need to catch up with. My life has returned to its regularly scheduled program. I have time to indulge my perfectionism – hence, no excuse to delay starting my blog. And I guess I am somewhat arrogant. Because, for every person who says it just perfectly, there’s someone who says it atrociously. If they can be bloggers, so can I! Not to mention that I’m a firstborn extravert who grew up in the eighties and nineties. I’ve enjoyed a lifetime of being told I’m awesome, and why wouldn’t everyone want to read what I write?

I guess the one remaining issue is my laziness …. I hope this blog doesn’t join a long list of worthy resolutions relegated to the scrap heap at the back of my mind, which includes (but is not limited to):

–        flossing every day

–        cleaning my house from top to bottom (yes, even the storage rooms and under the heavy appliances)

–        writing a novel

–        attempting to publish my poetry

–        losing ten pounds

–        only drinking wine on weekends

–        finding a new, cool, easy-to-manage hairstyle (well, finding a hairstyle at all, really)

–        reading “War and Peace”

–        mastering the French language

–        adding to my small collection of tattoos

–        getting up ten minutes earlier so that my mornings don’t bring me to the brink of hyperventilation

–        not yelling at my daughters

–        leaving on time to avoid despising every other driver between my house and wherever I’m going

We’ll see!

* A shout-out to Ryan for coming up with the name! Even someone with my abysmal memory can retain “BethBlog”.