I am officially giving myself a celebratory pat on the back, and possibly opening a bottle of bubbly to celebrate completing this 40 day excursion. Although not the first time I have written 40 days in a row, it is the first time in about 2-3 years.
The past few times I have started out pretty gung-ho, then fizzled after a week or two or three….and what I came to realize before embarking on Spring 2017 was that I was writing about stuff that simply scratched the surface of what was going on with me. Numerous times the blogs consisted of more of a diary; other times I was on some sort of rant.
About a week before the onset of Spring 2017, I expressed to a good friend — also a writer — my frustration in not being able to put all of my swirling thoughts into some form of context; basically, I didn’t know where or how to begin. He suggested I start with “A” and move through the alphabet, writing about the first thing that came to mind with each letter. Although I didn’t write about the first thing that came to mind with each corresponding letter, that strategy proved to be an integral part of gathering my thoughts and ideas into some kind of format; a good beginning, hence Day 1 — Apologies. From there I found it easier to stay on track (thanks, Doug).
You’ll notice, by the title of this entry, that I only got as far as “T.” Hmmm…26 letters in the alphabet, and 40 days of writing; how did this happen? Numerous chapters on the same subject, that’s how. Even had I gotten through all 26 letters, I would have had to start from “A” again, so there was bound to be repetition either way. This approach worked fine.
I also decided that the diary and rant approaches weren’t satisfying my palate — and weren’t getting a lot of traction. I needed to go deeper. Way deeper. My memory is long, and I have enough life experience to draw from, to where the combination of both might enable me to come up with material that would not only interest and inspire me to keep writing, but perhaps be of interest to others, as well.
The last and most poignant strategy is derived from a quote from the late, acerbically great Carrie Fisher, “Take your broken heart, make it into art.” Just this moment, pecking out that statement on my keyboard, I have to fight back the tears.
It’s so true. Although I try to stay positive, enjoy life and surround myself with like minds, I am much more complex than that. There is no denying the undercurrent of terribly depressing things that have happened in my life that need attention. Iris, Marvel and Julie were all taken too soon; writing extensively about them — each warranted numerous Days of Writing — helped me heal, and honor them at the same time. While formatting my memories of each, working to get my stories into some sort of context, I would often find myself sobbing — and I took that as my cue to keep going. Don’t stop. Surrender to the tears. Blurred text, typos, and raccoon eyes be damned. Carrie Fisher would be proud.
Yes, there were also a few days — usually when I was coming off multiple chapters on one subject — where I just needed to keep things light and somewhat brief. We sometimes forget that writing for 40 days straight can mean a few paragraphs, one paragraph, or even a sentence or two — and it can be whatever you feel like writing about. Yes, let’s not forget.
Of course there was that one handful of days when I had had it up to here with Facebook narcissists, and needed to vent. So much for being positive; I’m only human, so I may as well work it out here, in this fashion, rather than attacking people to their faces. If I offended anyone from our 40 Days community, it was so not my intention. I love you all, and I appreciate your taking the time to read and comment on my work.
And “work” it was. Well, maybe a labor of love. Regardless, carving out the time each day was probably the most challenging part of this project, but somehow I was able to make it happen. Breaking subject matter down into chapters really helped, and a bonus in utilizing this method is that the reader only has to carve out a certain amount of time, as well. Yes, in the past I have had good friends tell me that, although they enjoyed my blogs, they preferred the shorter ones. Although their prerogative, it’s something I have since kept in mind, and applied when feasible. Feedback of any kind is usually quite helpful.
So, ’til next time. No promises on the next round (Summer 2017, anybody?), but I did learn a lot this time — especially about myself.
Me, celebrating 40 Days of Writing, with a glass of grapefruit champagne.