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March 14, 2013

A few weeks ago, I did something stupid. Monumentally stupid.  I’ll bet it’s not uncommon, though. In a fit of writerly self-loathing, I deleted an entire work of fiction I’d been working on, THE thing I’d been working on, having decided that it was complete and utter shit and that I needed to start from scratch. I don’t know if other aspiring failed novelists do this, or if any successful writers do this, but I’m willing to bet a good many of them have.

Maybe you’ve done this crazy thing, too.

And if you’ve been there, you’ll know the feeling, having completely erased all traces of the work itself (other than perhaps your initial notes when the idea first came to you), of stopping dead in your tracks while you were going about your day, as you come to the realization that you trashed some really good shit. Or the potential for some really good shit, anyway.

And you’ll also know the feeling, as you scramble to remember and recreate what you’d thrown away, of wishing someone had caught you in the act and smacked some sense into you, because again, you probably trashed some really good shit. Or the potential for some really good shit, anyway.

I don’t really know what made me do that, but I have one guess.

You see, I am tired of writing about me.

As you’ve probably already figured out from having spent two seconds with me or reading my blog or Twitter feed or whatever, I am completely and profoundly and thoroughly messed up. And for the past couple of years (and sadly, not longer than that), I’ve been working on becoming unmessed up. And what happens when you try to get unmessed up from how messed up I was is that you first have to get to know yourself, and all your issues, and all the reasons for those issues, as well as you possibly can.

So right now, there is nothing in the world I know better than I know me and my issues. Not the people in my life. Not the people who aren’t in my life. Not my job. Not the things I love, like sports and traveling. Not the things I hate, like inequality and the Boston Bruins.

You write what you know.

And I am tired of writing about how messed up I am. For one thing, it’s incredibly narcissistic, and for another, it’s really boring. I work on my issues all day, every day, and then I sit down to write, and find my issues on the page, just disguised with different words. It’s exhausting.

So, in an effort to know other things and consequently write about other things, I decided to shamelessly borrow an idea from a friend, and made a list of 30 things I would like to do before I hit age 30, in August. Adventures, tasks, experiences, accomplishments, you name it. I’m not sharing the list here just yet, although some friends and my sister have seen it (accountability, yo), because I’m going to write up a blog post for each thing I do. Some of them are frivolous, others are practical, many are just things I have always wanted an excuse to do. The one thing they all have in common is that they are a break from Working On Myself (although some of the things might have a positive effect on that front).

I promise this is still a hockey and life blog, although it’s been light on the hockey lately (all the hockey stuff has been on Eyes On The Prize, so go look!).  There will be hockey on here, I promise. And there will be some sports stuff I’m pretty excited about. And there will also be 30 posts, between now and my 30th birthday, in no particular order. Pass, fail, half-accomplish, whatever, I’ll write one for each.

Anyway. This blog is still alive, and I hope you’ll come back and read it and possibly laugh at me.


10 Comments leave one →
  1. trot71 permalink
    March 14, 2013 2:14 am

    Can’t wait to read em!
    All my best wishes on your continuing (and, if you’re anything like me, lifelong) journey to unmessed uppedness.

  2. March 14, 2013 2:17 am

    Oy. Admittedly I’m not writing about me, ever, but I can’t STAND deleting anything.

    Good luck, at least with the fresh start you’ll revive the project at your current skill level not try heaving the old stuff uphill to that level.

  3. March 14, 2013 9:11 am

    There is something that I learned the hard way that I need to pass along. Whenever it comes to creative projects, sometimes you need to walk away from them and leave them be for a bit. Let time pass. Then go back to them with fresh eyes. That can work wonders.

    I can’t tell you how many drawings and paintings I tossed away. Lots of projects and work down the drain for no reason other than being my own worst enemy.

    When you’ve been overworking something or obsessing about it you kind of lose your mind a bit. You don’t see clearly. Sometimes all you see are mistakes. You “suck” and you’re the “worst thing ever”.

    When I’ve gone back to things I tossed aside with fresh eyes I see how wrong I was in my thinking.

    Let this be a valueable lesson to you. Learn from it. It’s a painful lesson to learn though. I sometimes want to smash my head into the wall for being so damn stupid. Sigh.

  4. March 14, 2013 9:37 am

    You burned the ships. I think that’s rather brave in instances like this.

  5. March 14, 2013 9:38 am

    Starting a project, getting disappointed in it, then abandoning it is a time-honored writer’s tradition. It happens to everyone. There are probably books of the bible or dead sea scrolls that made someone think, “Ugh. This is crap!” before they balled them up and threw them in a fire. The good news is, ideas have no expiration date. So you can use what you wrote before in something else down the road.

    Good luck with the 30 thoughts.

  6. March 14, 2013 10:11 am

    I’m with @KyleRoussel, and I’ve done it myself sometimes. If you’re obsessive and/or overly fixated on your own interior world, deliberately freeing yourself from something can be a very good thing. I see it as both an act of defiance to what you feel is a bit of a prison and a survival mechanism along the quest to discover who you truly are, while not allowing yourself to become trapped staring at your own navel all day. I’m proud of you, to be honest.
    The next lesson is to learn to laugh at yourself for the things you do/have done and work towards liking yourself. Even God assumes that you will have a healthy amount of self-love- “your neighbour as yourself”. At the end of the day, you trashed an idea, not your house or your car or your savings. Ideas can always be regenerated, as they exist within yourself.

  7. Mr. Miller permalink
    March 14, 2013 10:24 am

    Hell. I like laughing at other people. Why not?

  8. March 14, 2013 12:22 pm

    Sometimes writing about an issue can be the best way to work through it. At the same time, though, if it’s something you’re sick of writing about and thinking about outside the contexts in which you need to – to the point where it’s no longer doing you any good – maybe it was for the best that you axed that particular bit of work. It hurts to blow up a bunch of potentially good stuff unnecessarily, but if you got some gain out of it, it wasn’t really in vain. (If you’re concerned about it going forward, you can always email a copy of future work to a trusted friend.)

    I’m curious about what you’ve got in store for yourself over the next little while, too. I also find it very easy to retreat inward (probably for different reasons), though I have gotten better more recently. Still, I might wind up borrowing this idea and modifying it for myself at some point.

    Also, how’s the March challenge going?

  9. March 15, 2013 12:52 am

    I have a story here, but I think it’s longwinded and unwieldy enough to merit its own post. It also needs pictures.

    What I will say is this. Most people are messed up. Only a few have a sense of how and why and can articulate it. This is not a bad thing.

    I actually remember what I was doing in August 1983. We were moving cross-country and I was not thrilled with my first impressions out here.

  10. January 12, 2014 3:38 pm

    Dear Laura,

    I’m replying to an old post (yes, I read the date above). Why? because it is timeless. Not only timeless, but common place. I am self-conscious, and I always been that way. I’m probably not the same person you thought I would look like or speak like after having met me once. I’ve stopped blogging a couple of years ago. I actually stopped writing altogether, even phased out of twitter for months at a time. Because I tend to compare myself to others, I try to forget about stats and stuff that will either boost or minimize one’s ego. But there’s always a reminder somewhere that others who think the same, even say the same things, they get a gazillion more hits, have a million more followers than one does.

    I’ve been pouring my guts all over twitter ever since I joined, and maybe even more since I came back after a long hiatus. I know I get on people’s nerves, sometimes I can’t even stand my own self any more. So I’ve been mulling over and over for the past month: to blog or not to blog? Guess what, I’m back on the blog circuit even if it’s dead (that’s what I read, 2014 is the year blogging died). Even if my closest family members are my only readers. Because. This is a trace of me I want to leave behind. I may have failed about all my career ambitions (I’ve made a couple of great things, I mean recognizable ones, by my peers).

    I almost destroyed the old blog I had. I can’t reread most posts, as I find them full of errors. I decided to leave everything as it were. And start something new. All I’ve got done at the moment is the “about me” stuff and 2 dozen drafts to pick from as my first post. It’s a start. And I’m doing it for myself. If it makes even one person smile, think, react or anything, I will have done something with it. And that’s good.


    ps. I burned letters I had written to a dear friend. Even if I may say so myself, there were some perls, a treasure of some of the best stuff I’ve ever written. I wish I hadn’t. Also, merci, Laura for who you are, for everything you are. You just don’t know how much of a difference you make in other people’s lives, mine in particular. I came here looking for inspiration and I think I’ve found it.

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