Friday, May 15, 2009

The Aspiring Professional Lurker

Without a doubt, I know most people who read my blog are also writers or have the urge to, at least. Some days it comes easy and other days, it feels as though there isn’t one word to describe how I’m feeling; I’m just simply out of steam. For work purposes, it comes easily because there’s an agenda. There’s more of a structured type of program I follow. But, for this blog, my personal little doodling pad, I find it difficult at times to express myself the way I want to, or find the words I want to type.

The other night I was watching, Finding Forester, a movie about an afro-american teen writing prodigy who finds a mentor in a reclusive author.  The author was encouraging the boy to write. He said something very significant: “Your first draft you write with your heart. Your second draft you write with your head.”

I remember in grammar school we had those ditto sheets. The teacher would tell us to “speed write”---meaning: write every single thought onto the paper as fast as you can. Tell a story of something that had happened to you in the past or something you feel strongly about. She also said don’t worry if it’s sloppy - just write! All of us started furiously jotting down words off the top of our heads, with our tongues hanging halfway out of our mouths. We wrote about our vacations or how we were upset that we didn’t get to do this or that or how our parents reprimanded us for doing whatever, and we felt we didn’t deserve the punishment we received. Other kids wrote about how they hated homework, much like an attempt to boycott it altogether. Whatever. It was in our hearts, right? Afterwards, we had to basically edit and clean it up to present it as an essay. We wrote with our hearts and then with our heads.

I never told this to anybody, except for Madelene, but at the age of 19, I had written my very first book by hand in a composition notebook. There were five notebooks I had completed.  I never tried publishing it, nor did I show it to anyone. It was a fictional love story between two women. I’m not a huge fan of fictional novels or writings for that matter, but this book was so in tune with my life that it seemed nonfiction. I was a closet writer. I didn’t show anybody my work. I even wrote lyrics to music, most of it hidden in a notepad in the last drawer of my old bedroom. Eventually, the music and lyrics came out, more so than my fictional writing did.

Back then, we didn’t have the internet. I used to buy books that were memoirs or “diaries of so and so” to read raw and honest truths about someone I admired. Even if it wasn’t someone I admired, I wanted to read “real life stories”----much like a blog but in a book form. More than ten years later, blogging became all the rage and I dove into it head first. The mere fact that random people can just log onto your page and read your words was exciting to me. I had a voice for the very first time. I had a place that was all my own, where people could absorb my words, tap into my mind and see what’s really in my heart. If you have ever seen my vlogs, you would think another person was speaking. I write much differently than I speak. I don’t know why - maybe proper grammar conscious, but even so, my grammar is off at times. I can’t say that I’m shy, because people think of me as a complete goof in person, and I’ve even heard some go as far to call me an “intellectual thinker” when they read my words---so the two don’t correlate at all, in fact, they’re quite the contradiction. But who says you can’t be a goofy intellectual thinker?  Hrmm...

I’m glad I didn’t hide out as a lurker to the blogging world. I’m sorry I didn’t publish my first book, because it was really good in my opinion. It was a good book for people who had just come out of the closet as homosexuals. But, I have no regrets. I ripped it up for a reason and that reason being: I’m not a fictional writer. It wasn’t “me”. I wasn’t ready. So, here I am today writing about my life and being 100% honest and raw as one possibly can.  My second book will be out this September.  It's more about my life, family and events in a heartfelt and comical tone.

If you’re reading this blog and you have an urge to write for yourself, don’t hold back. Get your voice out there because someone, somewhere is going to need to “hear” it. Don’t just be an "aspiring professional lurker"--get out there and make a voice for yourself.