The Prompt:

Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year. (Author: Kathryn Fitzmaurice)

OH!  I so wanted to rail at this prompt.  I wanted to throw a wordtrum and slam my laptop shut to prove my point.  I was, in fact, just about to, when a few things danced through my brain, wondering: “what about us?”

1.  It’s a challenge.  Of course it’s going to stretch my limits and patience, else, what is the point?  I’ve accepted, and to back out now, well, it’s just not in my nature.  (This does NOT stop me from TOTALLY agreeing with Stereo.   I had really been hoping for some firecrackers to close this challenge out with.)

2.  The folks at Reverb10 have worked hard to put this together.  As I understand, this is only the second year.  Can I not forgive growing pains?  Further, I remember actually reading something saying that part of the point WAS GOING TO BE to see if we recognized recurrent themes in our answers.  Perhaps it’s not the questions that are so much the same, but the way we filter them through our own life lenses.

3.  (As a direct result of taking a breath and holding in said tantrum): Wow, I actually DO have an answer to this that is different than anything I’ve said previously.

Haters gon’ hate.  Today, I’ll keep my Haterade to myself.   Besides, I told you, I have an answer!

I’m having a series of defining moments right now.  And it’s kind of exciting.

The Other: I’m beginning to think that I could, maybe, perhaps, possibly, be a writer.  *gasp*

My inner monologue: You were an English major, of course you can string a few words together to answer a question.  You’ve also read thousands of books, so of course, those strung together words will sound marginally coherent…you’ve had good teachers.  But you know and I know you’re faking it at best.  All you need to do is go and read the words of some of the people you’ve been introduced to through this challenge to know that you’re in no way good enough.

The Other: But I think I am…I mean, look at…

My Inner Monologue: Look at what?  Huh?  There’s no way.  What would you write about?  Where would you begin?  What do you have to say?  What’s your perspective?  Who’s to say that perspective is even interesting?  Who’ll want to read?  What does that even mean, WRITER??  You can’t lie to save your life.  So fiction is out.  Are you really talking about articles for papers and magazines?  Please.  There’s no way.  nu-uh.   (repeat.)

The Other: But there is something.  There IS something, SOMETHING telling me that I’ve got something to say.  It’s there.  At the bottom.  In the back.  Under all that other stuff….


Me: When it comes to writing, I’ve never really given a second thought.  In school, I’d accept an assignment, sit down, write it, hand it in.  My journalling was the same way.  At the end of a day, I’d take 15 or 20 minutes, vomit all over the page, and  go to sleep.

When I started Reverb10, I was hoping for a way to synthesize and absorb my year.  I was looking for something that would take the episode of Hoarders my brain had become, and help me tidy it up and stash it away so that I could move on.  Like my school assignments, I just sat down each day and wrote the prompts, absolutely blithe to have something intellectual and absorbing to occupy my time.  With the exception of one or two, it was easy, and I was mostly done and free to read everyone else after an hour or so.

Over the course of the month, I’ve received a fair number of messages and responses to my writing.  Some from old friends, some from new, many from the Reverb community; but all saying something kind about my voice.  I shrugged it all off.

Inner Monolgue: Nothing that comes that easy really matters.  If you haven’t tried, have you really done anything?  Of course people are commenting.  They’re your friends.  And those Reverbers?  They just want you to read their stuff too.

Me: But yesterday, yesterday something changed.  Clicked.  Snapped.  I sat down to answer the prompt with what I meant to be just a little love letter to my husband.  When I was finished, I re-read and then published.  I didn’t feel as if I’d been particularly brilliant.  As with almost every other time, I was content with what I’d come up with.  It said exactly what I was feeling, it painted exactly the images I was seeing and it left nothing out.  It was simply, what I wanted to say, period.

(that might strike you as terribly blase, but it’s the truth.  I always say what I mean to say, I just never feel as if any of it is terribly profound.)

Fast forward to tens of minutes after I’d posted, and the comments began pouring in.  Something I’d written struck a chord, twanged a string with the people who read it.  That had been happening throughout the month, but yesterday was different.

Yesterday, I started to believe what people were saying, and here is why:  because the majority of the people who commented are people who I’ve been reading throughout this challenge.  They are people with enormous amounts of talent, whom I respect, whom I feel, wouldn’t waste their time blowing smoke up my ass.  (You wouldn’t, would you?!  Because if you would, you’re sitting there right now laughing at my silly, silly idea….) After all, who am I?  What could that possibly gain?

What started as a modest, honest, little love letter, has become a seed.

If this stuff comes easily to me (mostly), and I harvest an unquantifiable amount of joy from it, and people are responsive TO it,

Could I be

Should I be

Might I be…

A writer?

This I shall be exploring in 2011.


14 thoughts on “Defining Moment

  1. You bet our ass you are a writer. Thank you for finally seeing in yourself, what so clearly everyone else is seeing and responding to. Kudos – first step has been taken, first seed planted. I cannot wait to see what 2011 sprouts.

  2. I loved yesterday’s love letter (I’m just feeling a little quiet when I’m not raging). You write. Therefore, you are a writer. You’re easy to read. I like that you say what you mean and how you say it. You’re engaging, and I LIKE you.

    So there.

  3. Ditto, Shannon, ditto! I’ve spent the past month as one of the Reverberators, and have read so many great writers. I keep coming back to specific blogs, for one reason, and one reason only. I enjoy them. I have looked forward to reading your posts each day. In some way, I identify with a lot of what you’ve had to say. I don’t post comments unless something has hit that note and made me think, “Damn. I wish I had written that.” You’ve got a talent, and a very definite voice. Keep it up. Whether you believe it or not, you are a writer.

  4. Your Inner Monologue is an idiot. Kick her out. She wouldn’t know a writer if she was bitten by a rabid one. Feh!

    I’m sort of like you in that my inner editor thinks me a fool, but I am starting to think it is time to fire that particular inner editor and look for a replacement.

    You keep doing what you’re doing, and you already are a writer. In fact, I wish I’d written this…

  5. Reverb 10 has exceeded my expectations, but this one post of yours makes my whole month. The feeling you’re describing, of truly believing in oneself and one’s creative powers, it’s such a precious thing. I’m so psyched that you’re feeling it right now. No smoke, no joke – you’re the real deal.

  6. You’re such a writer. People who don’t doubt that they’re writers are the ones who have no business doing it.

    I read more than 800 blogs during this project Not 800 individual posts. More than 800 writers. Going through that list at Reverb10 for crew, trying to make sure that people were getting commented on here and there and staying with the project. I read them to the neglect of my own writing, and I came back to very, very few. (Even a month late, like I’m doing today.) I’m back here because I want to be, and I don’t have time to do it just to be nice anymore. The people I still read are the ones with a voice. That is you.

    1. It feels good to hear you say that. I have recently begun writing again, and my goal this year was to search out the voice that I’d once had. It is encouraging to hear comments telling me that I”m on my way. I’m glad to have you. Stop by anytime.

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