Am I too old?

I have been asking this question for a couple days. It’s not an actual question, because as soon as the words are out of my mouth/brain, I’ve already decided the obvious answer is “Yes.” Always.

So, it is really less a question and more a statement: I am too old. I struggle to write just a blog post. I am approaching 44 full years on this planet. I left a professional writing job (if you can call it that) 20 years ago. Maybe this ship has sailed.

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Abandonment and Annihilation

A little less than a year ago I ditched my book. I’d been writing it for almost three years at that point and had revised at least 4 times, re-mapped the storyline, gotten rid of an entire main character.

And then I felt overwhelmed. I decided that I had zero business writing a novel and needed to work on my actual skills before I jumped off that cliff. The plan was that I would write and revise a collection of short stories and try to submit them for publication.

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Unlocking From the Inside: A 30 Day Writing Challenge

I’m in the tail end of another 30 day writing challenge with this group I now refer to as my infrastructure. I’ve participated in these challenges in the past and enjoyed the camaraderie, focus and once had publishing success as a result. I don’t always hit my word count and sometimes miss a day, but I think about the writing in a more obsessive way, which I embrace.

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Origin Story

I’m not into superheroes, but I do enjoy a good origin story. I like to know where people come from, how they ended up where they are, and what led them to their areas of interest—professional and personal. And if you’re a writer, I especially want to know how you got started. Were you one of those kids who kept a daily journal starting in second grade, never missing an entry? Or was it encouragement from a beloved middle school English teacher? Did you have the support of parents? Or was writing almost an illicit activity, something you hid from friends and family?

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Seeing Myself As A Writer

A couple weeks ago I found myself in the office of an ophthalmologist I hadn’t been to before.

“Alright, Jessica,  I need you to lean forward, rest your chin here, and press your forehead against this brace,” she said as she turned off the lights. “Now tell me, which one of these is better, one or two?” She continued, “one or two?”  

“One,” I answered.

“Okay, now three or four? Three or four?”

“Three?” I said, less confident.

I doubt myself sometimes when answering these questions. The stakes feel so high. Like if I somehow pick the wrong number, I’ll end up with contact lenses that make my vision worse, not better.

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On Writing Through The Pain—Literally

Here’s a dispatch from smack dab in the middle of 4 years of chronic pain past self me. I somehow, some which way, wrote it, prolly while eating my weight in chocolate pudding and coming down off of some super sweet ass nerve blocker whose side effects included:

  • Twitching
  • Slapping my mom’s hand out of mouth
  • There’s a murderer outside waiting for me to fall to sleep and then stab me to death so I def should not go to sleep
  • The eating and eating of chocolate pudding
  • More nerve pain
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Screaming in my sleep
  • SO SO many other things

I’ve since had a major miracle spinal surgery that worked.
It worked!!!!!
So, dry your tears and read about the abject terror that is Chronic Nerve Pain.

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I’m Writing! Even When It’s Harder.

“Being a doctor is hard. It’s harder for women.”

This is objectively true. They actually did a real scientific study. Because you know it isn’t true until someone puts a p value on it and calls it a statistic.

I am not sure whether it matters if it is “true” or not, or whether it is statistically significant or not. There will always be someone who argues against this. They will say being a doctor is hard for anyone who attempts it.

This is true.

This doesn’t mean, however, that there are not gradations of this thing, “hardness.”

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I Had To Change It All to Get It Done

I recently participated in an Oprah and Deepak 21 day meditation. I almost always sign up when they’re available because it’s free, they have a theme, and are generally limited to 20 minutes. Regardless of the topic there’s something within the theme that applies to me and I welcome the opportunity to change up my solitary meditation practice.

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Grab Hold of The Rope: A Reminder to Trust

A string of a dozen four-year-olds paraded by the front of the coffee shop, chubby little hands grasping the rope connected by a teacher at each end. Some kids waved and smiled, one asked the teacher what we—the folks sitting at the open coffee shop window—were doing, but it was a little girl in the middle that caught my attention. She was in the center of the pack holding onto the rope just like all the other kids, but what made her stand out was that her eyes were closed. She had red, curly hair, and a tiny, knowing smile on her freckled face. She followed along, trusting the rope, trusting the teachers at either end, trusting the kids in front of and behind her. The pack moved slowly enough for me to see that she wasn’t peeking out from squinched eyes, she wasn’t glancing at the ground while trying to maintain the impression of trusting. In fact her eyes weren’t squeezed shut, they were simply closed. She looked…relaxed.

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Writing While Weird

I’m defective. I can’t figure out if I was born this way or if it was a conscious decision. At five years old, I remember noticing other kids getting super dupes grossed out by spinach and deciding that I would love spinach. Around the time that I reached puberty, I remember deciding that I, absolutely and without a doubt, should not and would not get married (ever) or have children. I remember thinking that I could actually fly before I hit puberty.  At 16, I remember astral projecting across my tiny town. I’ve never worked in an office. I’m a female line cook, in a sea of really really male line cooks. I willfully ignore grammar in favor of rhythm. I try to find the “hard way” and I call it the “scenic route.” I don’t know how I got here. I’m 43 and my mind still works this way.

I’m afraid of this defective nature. I don’t understand why I am “other.” My point of view, my poetry, my ideas, my stand up, my art, my love letters are all defective.

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