...because fiction is our greatest escape from reality...

Liked This Tag

Rhian tagged me and gave me a such a smile with her compliments. I’ve had a rough writing day, so it was very welcome.  The tag?

 Recycle a Post. The rules for the meme are simple: go through your archives and pick out a post that you want to share again. Don’t just link to it, reproduce it in its entirety.

I actually had a hard time picking because in the beginning, I really worked this blog–much more than I have been in the last few months.  I was mouthier, more thought-provoking.  I will be again.  Promise.  There are things in my extended family life I don’t blog about, personal issues that worked their way into some of my creative muscles.  Believe it or not, I don’t feel that every aspect of my world should be posted here for anyone to stumble upon.  🙂

But when it comes to writing issues, I’ve felt the opposite.  If I manage to touch one new writer who just might be going through some of the stuff I did in the past–and if that one writer suddenly gets a spark or feels less alone in his or her struggle, then good.  That’s why I really got into blogging.  It might have started as a tie-in to that writer’s T-shirt shop, but it morphed into something on its own.

I’ve lately worried that my lack of hard-hitting, painfully honest writing posts has cost me readers, but I’ve also been hoping I’ll pull them back when they see I really have been working hard on a book. <g>

I have posts I liked in the Favorite Posts section to the right, but outside of the ones I’ve put on their own pages above– examples of fiction writing I did in response to reader challenges–some of my favorites were pretty mouthy like the Oklahoma Towns post and the many, many ones I’ve done on getting over years of self-doubt issues.  But, I ran across this one.  I’d forgotten it.   So let’s revisit. 

Me and Emerson

What is it about human nature that makes us want to fit in? You join this group or that one… you hope each time the fit will be right. I’ve spent most of my life like this.

Searching for Like so I didn’t feel alone.

Some of us, no, most of us, really don’t fit into any box perfectly. We have such individual bumps and edges. Experience has molded, each new cast different than the last. We are alone in our skin and for some, comfort comes in conformity.

Like with like.

So, what of the perpetual nonconformist? That one person who just doesn’t fit in anywhere and well, really doesn’t want to? The older I get, the more comfortable I get in my own skin. In fact, I believe that once we become comfortable with who we are, being alone is no longer lonely.

One of my favorite nonconformists was Ralph Waldo Emerson. I don’t profess to understand everything he wrote– not yet (g)– but I do know that in highschool, his quote, “Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist,” really hit me. (Yeah, a teenager who actually enjoyed reading the required Emerson is strange, but hey, I never claimed to be anything approaching normal. But then who is? Is there really such a thing as normal? Wait, do we want me to take off on another tangent? NO!)

So, my class had to read Self-Reliance. I loved it. Yes, I know. Freak. But here was someone unafraid to be himself! Talk about a foreign concept in highschool. Some think Emerson was a selfish man and in a sense he was. With his time. He had great things to ponder and even greater things to write. Unfortunately, writers do have to be selfish about their time when they can. Things like family, children and jobs come first, but show me a writer who isn’t writing and I’ll show you someone balancing on the edge. The edge of what– I’ll leave to your imagination.

Being selfish with my time is something I’m still learning. Kind of goes in with that whole procrastination from perfectionism subject I touched on here before. If I wasn’t trying to be so damned perfect at okay, EVERYTHING, maybe solitude wouldn’t be such a luxury. Emerson taught that solitude is a person’s best friend. (He used way more words, tho.)

Too many people read halfway into Self-Reliance and make snap judgments or get bogged down in his, dare I say it, wordiness. They don’t go far enough to get the beauty of his words, the utter simplicity of what he was really trying to say.

“If we live truly, we shall see truly.”

Those are his words, btw. So what else did I learn from this essay?

Go with that first gut instinct when it comes to your genius. (Yes, you have it.) There’s nothing worse than seeing some other artist or writer come up with a genius idea you already had and let go. Trust yourself.Don’t waste time wallowing in regret.Moving or traveling won’t really solve your problem. You bring your “giant” with you wherever you go.

Even though it’s easier to fall in line with those around you who think they know what’s best for you, don’t. Be true to yourself.

Oh, there’s more but I’m striving myself to be less “wordy” in this blog. heh heh
The real genius here is that these are simple ideas that make sense yet for some reason they’re the ones that seem to float just out of our normal thought range.

I wonder how long it took Emerson to be comfortable in his nonconformity?

I want to be more comfortable in mine.

Okay, I don’t usually tag people because I don’t know, I just don’t.  But there are some Snark readers I think might enjoy this tag.  Let’s see…

Heather, of course.  Someone I met through blogging–someone who has become a friend.  This lady can take a few simple words and put them together in a way that makes you catch your breath.  Check out her last poem if you want an example.

T.L. Schaefer–because I just love this woman.  Seriously nuts about her and I don’t see her enough.  We share a lot in common with our views and when we get together, we both forget to breathe, we’re talking that much.  Plus, she’s a fantastic writer I expect to see on the bestseller lists someday.  Hopefully soon. 🙂

Lyn Cash because this woman has plenty of early posts to choose from.  Posts that made me read and reread and just generally feel good about being a writer.  Oh, and about being a friend of hers.

Scott from Oregon.  A reader of mine that just showed up one day and always has an opinion–even if it’s to rewrite my poetry.  heh heh  I love his honesty.  And… I don’t think there is a thing he wouldn’t blog about.  Mr. Scott is not afraid to let it all hang out and I’ve found myself alternately amused and touched by his writing.  How did you stumble upon my humble abode, btw?

Last thoughts here since it’s after two in the morning and I’m blogging while groggy which, of course, is ALWAYS a good idea. 😉

The blogging world is a strange one.  I sometimes wonder if it’s nothing more than a passing fad.  There are times I wonder why I started something that comes with a pretty hefty responsibility, but I’ve made friends, good friends, this way and I think or hope that some of my more painfully honest posts have helped a new writer or two out there somewhere.   I took the long way around in this career I’ve chosen and hopefully, all the readers who’ve been with me from the beginning will enjoy the ride when I do start selling my books.  (And oh yeah, it’s definitely a “when” now. 😉  ) I do see you visit, even if you don’t always have time to comment and that’s okay–I still visit and don’t always comment myself.  That’s the beauty of using websites that collect updates for you.

Where in the beginning, blogging was exciting–and still is–I’ve also realized that to keep up in the intense way I did in the beginning, I sacrifice writing or family time and these two things are precious to me.  But, so are the people I’ve met here.  There are some who have come and gone, some I wonder what happened to, some I enjoy just reading their thoughts… even if those thoughts come sporadically.  

So, if I don’t always comment, I do apologize, but I thought I’d let you know something.  Those big, green peepers up there are still lurking around even if they’re bloodshot from this current insomnia and hard, book writing push. <g>


  1. June 14, 2007    

    Age helps with the idea of independance, being an individual and not always trying to be in a group. But then, I’ve always been OK by myself, never felt the need to be entertained, even as a kid, books did it and I had a nose in one all the time. Age helps you realize that it’s OK to be selfish with your time because you don’t have unlimited time left.

    On boys, your son is right, and so is his sensei. He shouldn’t take martial arts out of the dojo. Jeff only used his Karate in public, outside of a sparring match, one time. He was in an airport, two guys jumped him in the rest room, he walked away without a scratch. The two guys didn’t. Well, one, the one without the knife, ran. The other one didn’t walk away. Scared Jeff because he realized that he could have easily killed the guys without even thinking about it. He was about 18 at that time. To my knowledge, it hasn’t happened again. Most people just wouldn’t mess with him, even though he’s small and still looks young. Carol

  2. June 14, 2007    

    “There’s nothing worse than seeing some other artist or writer come up with a genius idea you already had and let go.”

    It’s a deflating blow, but man, it tells you that you are capable if only you’d trust yourself. I meant to pick up his essay the last time I read this post, but didn’t get around to it. I think I will this time.

    And, thanks for the kind words. They mean a lot, and make me tear up a bit, too. 🙂

  3. June 14, 2007    

    You’re welcome, Heather. Yours is a friendship I’ve made online that I treasure. 🙂 Oh, and the fact that my loud, Amazonian self didn’t scare you away in person meant a lot, too. heh heh

    Carol, we’ve told him his martial arts can be used if the attacker is older, there’s more than one, or he feels he has no choice. We put him in for self-defense–well, that and self discipline but that isn’t gellin’ yet…

  4. June 14, 2007    

    Love the post!! I swear, sometimes it’s like you are in my brain!! It’s almost like you took everything I wanted to say and popped it on the page. THANK YOU!! (are you my long lost twin?) LOL

    I am like one of those star-shaped blocks that has always tried to fit in the round hole, but no matter how many of my edges you shave off, I still won’t fit and usually another edge grows back. The edge of ‘rejection’. I thank my books and journals for getting me through.

    As I get older, I just don’t seem to care as much if I fit in, I am who I am. I am getting more comfortable with myself, finally!

    Btw… your site does help me with my writing. I may not flip through your archives, but alot of times you are GREAT for writers block!!

    P.S. no hairy monster in my new house… just nasty cockroaches. EEWWEE

  5. June 14, 2007    

    I think a lot of us share similar feelings, that’s why putting them out there and letting people read is a good thing. Most of the time, anyway–like I said, there are things in my life I don’t share. We all have our issues of stress and the last couple of years have been filled with doozies.

    I said doozies. Snort.

    Anyway, I once read that comics like Erma Bombeck did so well because she took the everyday, ordinary issues and made them funny. People responded because they identified with the subjects. I put my struggles, successes and failures out there because when I first did this, I didn’t have the Internet. It felt damned lonely at times and I would hear stories of people selling their first books and wonder if I’d ever get it right.

    I think I’m getting it right now. I’ve published. I hope to publish my book length work. I’m still scared, of course. Putting your work out there is like jumping into small lake filled with sharks. My instinct is to be as still as possible and not draw unwanted attention, but if I don’t tread water, I’ll drown.

    Man, don’t know if that will even make sense to anyone, but I guess I’m saying, that when I quit writing, I felt like I was drowning. So, the risk is worth it now. But thankfully, my skin is also thicker now.

    Oh, I should have re-posted my article about Armadillo Skin. http://relliott4.wordpress.com/2006/08/16/wanted-armadillo-skin/

    And, I’m sorry, but I’d prefer hairy monsters over cockroaches. Those things are so freaking tough and they’re worse than rabbits with their plans to take over the world.

  6. June 15, 2007    

    I still struggle with ‘self doubt’. And so, I write for my blog. The only other thing I write for is my country singer friend and that is the reviews for his songs. He loves them. And that is what keeps me going.

    I get alot of compliments from friends that I write really well, but I think for me, it will take more than that to come out from hiding.

    I don’t mind putting most of my personal stuff out there, I seem to express myself much better in writing than speaking. I find it a big relief to be able to get on my blog and spill everything (within reason) and maybe just maybe someone will pop by my site and say ‘hey.. I know just how you feel’. Still waiting on that one!

    Armadillo Skin was great! I totally feel the same way about curtains!

    As for fury monsters and roaches.. hmm… I pick.. NEITHER! BLECH!

  7. June 15, 2007    

    I’ll have to remember this meme on a day when I have nothing to talk about. lol

  8. June 15, 2007    

    Tag, not meme. Duh.

  9. June 16, 2007    

    this is a GREAT post Rinda and no doubt you know me well enough by now to know i totally relate to it. Sometimes I think it’s that internal tension between having cajones and egos as big as some countries in conjunction with absolute, insecure terror that keeps Creatives balanced on the edge and sharp. If that makes sense.

  10. June 16, 2007    

    I know exactly what you mean! I’m so freaking insecure about my writing, yet when I do receive a bad review, my poor ego is so bruised. My critique partner and I get a kick out of this because we are very much alike. We hate getting back a manuscript with a ton of comments and tend to stomp around and disagree before we’re able to set those egos aside and really LOOK at the suggestions. 😉

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