I got my first piece published this month. I almost cried. It was so cool to see my words and name in physical print before me. Accomplishing this little feat has fueled the tiny sparks that are increasingly becoming real and palpable goals.
I am still far from being a “real author”, but ever since starting this blog and beginning to write, I have grown to love/hate the practice of writing. The more I bare my deepest flaws and fears, the better response I seem to get. Honestly, it is therapeutic to put your weirdness out there for the world to see (judge) and get confirmation that you are not the only wackadoo who feels the way you do.
Though my blog is less censored, about one month ago I decided it would be cool to submit a short family friendly piece to our local paper, The Marengo-Union Times. This is a monthly newspaper that goes to all resident homes in Marengo and Union at the beginning of each month. I wrote the piece geared towards the general family population, about Ryan’s first play that we attended at the high school. It was a great experience for us, and so when I got home, I immediately sat down to write about it.
I emailed the editor at the paper briefly introducing myself and asking her to review the piece. I thought, if she can use it, great! If not that is okay, perhaps I could get some feedback on what they were looking for at this unique organization. She responded saying basically, thanks, but the submission was pretty late and it would most likely not make the current issue. I set to work on the next month submission piece, and told myself, ‘Hey good job putting yourself out there.”
After work last week, I went out to my mailbox in the dark to grab the dreaded bills and junk mail. Tired and crabby, I flipped through the soon-to-be recycling bin materials and saw the Marengo Union Times. I browsed through it nonchalantly, not even thinking about my previously submitted piece. Imagine my surprise when I opened to page 19 and there was… gulp…. MY PIECE! Ryan’s smiling face from the play and my own sweet little blurb, right there in front of me. To say I was ecstatic was an understatement.
Logically I know this is a small town newspaper. I certainly did not make any money doing it, and most people will browse right past it. My brother jokingly congratulated me with a “Print is dead!” text, which cracked me up. But you know what? I don’t care. This is one of the coolest things I have ever done, and I am damn proud of it. If you would have asked me several months ago if I would ever have something of my own published in a real live newspaper, I would have laughed in your face. I have never been creative. I have never been artistic. I have always been logical and not a big risk taker. I do not enjoy being publicly vulnerable. But all that has changed this year.
Writing this blog has shown me that maybe we are not defined by our past. We tell ourselves we are this way, we are not that way. We believe what others tell us about ourselves or how we fit into this world. The truth is, that is all crap. We do help to create our own stories, but we are not chained to them, nor defined by them. If you are the fattest, slowest, most awkward runner in a race… you are still a runner. You may improve or face greater challenges than others, but yet you run. If you are the least competent, most easily flustered pupil, but you continue learning, you are still a student. You may fail a test or have to study much more intently, but yet you learn.
I may be the least experienced, unprofessional, and accidental author who creates a blog seemingly out of thin air with no idea what I am doing or what compels me to do so… but I am still a writer. The reasons why I write, my abilities, or my style may change and evolve over time, and yet I know that I will continue to write.
Thanks to all of you guys out there who take a few minutes of your day to read or share my pieces with others. Thanks to my few guest contributors and dear friends (Sara, Jen, Dave, Kellie) who have helped add flavor with your own unique voices. I have appreciated connecting with you through stories about everyday life, from the mundane to the chaotic to the wonderful stuff we all go through, together. Remember that you are never too old to chase a new dream, learn a new skill, or pursue a new interest. I have certainly enjoyed the first few months of growing Coherent With Coffee. From my cup to yours, cheers!