Writing is the most pure interpretation of ourselves. It is the entrance to who we really are. By blogging, I’ve invited you in – for better, for worse, for whatever you want to take me as: I am here. And I am real. This is me.
Recently, I had the pleasure of reading “The Lovely Bones” along with my old high school English teacher’s three senior English classes, while in turn, the students had to read my blog (baaahaha – poor senior boys). After reading the book, I used Skype to video conference with each class. They asked me questions about the book, my take on the characters (especially the mother, who leaves her family for an extended period of time to rediscover herself), and writing. It was an amazing experience, and it all stemmed out of my published byline on CNN.com.
These experiences tied together made me realize something about writing; about being a writer; about myself. Read on.
Of all the questions I was asked by the high school English students, only two left me speechless – without an instant answer.
The first: What do you want your legacy to be?
This caught me off-guard. I’ve never really thought about myself as leaving a legacy. I’m proud of who I am, the things I’ve done, and the things in my life that are yet to come – but a legacy? It’s not like I’m Oprah, here (I almost said Li-Lo, but that would have been oh-so wrong). My answer? I want to be remembered as a nice person. That’s it. That is all. Someone who formed friendships with many different types of people and who listened and learned with an unbiased ear.
MAN – high school students ask good questions. Stop being so deep, seniors! ;)
The second question, posed by a student who obviously was not in love with English class (which is completely Ok – we can’t all be English nerds). His question: I blog because Dr. Nygaard makes me blog. Why do you blog? And how do you come up with your post ideas?
I really didn’t have a good answer to this question even though it seems like it should have be easy. I think I stumbled through some generic response – so generic that I don’t even remember it. But that answer, whatever it was, did not do this question justice. So, to the gentleman who asked me this question, here is a proper answer:
I blog because I love writing, my son, and being a mother. I don’t brainstorm topics. I don’t sit and work through writer’s block. I post when I’m inspired and the writing just comes.
Of course when I was a student (both in high school and college) I struggled through my fair share of class essays that I had absolutely no interest in writing. I was assigned a topic and told to write. Blah.That’s what makes blogging different for me and why I think personal writing is so special. I don’t write because I have to, I write because I want to. The topic has not been assigned to me – being a mother to my son is such a special part of who I am and I am so passionate about it that often my fingers cannot keep up with the words streaming in my brain. Is it scary sometimes? To stream my personal thoughts and consciousness onto the Internet? Of course. It was especially terrifying publishing my writing on CNN for all the world to see. But it was also invigorating. That slight inkling of fear mixed with excitement is how I know I’m writing about what matters to me the most.
Writing is the truest form of who we are – it takes guts and courage and an invisible army of a thousand men to put your thoughts in their purest form out there for others to read. But I think that’s how we know we are winning – when we can do that and not back down.
My writing is who I am – not everyone is going to like it, not everyone is going to agree with it – but it is my own and it is real. If it can entertain and inspire others, then that’s just a bonus.
So seniors – even though you are being “forced” to write a senior blog, I encourage you to not think of it that way. Take a risk and write about what really matters to you.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
- Mary Angelou
Tell your story, and be proud.