I did it.
365 days from the start with a yellow brick road of my own words paved neatly behind me. It worked, dagnabbit! IT WORKED! (And it has somehow strangely infected me with a Southern drawl this last month - but, ah hell, that’s alright).
In case you just tuned in, last October 5th at around 7pm, I haphazardly decided to declare to the world (aka my mom and facebook friends) that I was going to attempt writing online at least once for 365 days straight to rid myself of writer’s block. The blog was born. It sounded easy enough - and started out easy enough - until one month later, when I wanted to ram my head against a concrete wall and throw my laptop off a bridge at the idea of tackling this blinking cursor EVERY SINGLE DAY for a WHOLE YEAR!
But tackle it I did. (Actually, it felt more like arm wrestling- and I have very weak, freakishly long arms- you get the gist).
I hadn’t thought it through. I didn’t take into account vacations, my day job, or if I'd be under the weather. I didn’t realize how my social life would be impacted. But it turned out that the persistence of writing daily - no matter the circumstance- was the best thing I could have ever done. It coloured my vocabulary, organized my thoughts and built a solid discipline to make time to write. The fact that I had to face a blank page with every new day exponentially reset the odds of shaping a narrative that had no choice but to move forward - both online and offline. In consequence, whatever and whomever I exposed myself to, inspired me in some way, and became a part of the story. It started out as an innocent experiment to battle writer’s block and became this memorable journey of introspection and creative self awareness.
I never planned on revealing so much about myself here, but once I began, it seemed there was no place these posts could come from other than my heart. Honest and intimate was key if it was ever to ring true. And so honest I was - even if it exposed my heart, my vulnerabilities, poor grammar and an extreme phobia of both rodents and semicolons.
Hell, I didn’t think anyone would ever read this thing! (Except for maybe my parents. Love you, Mom and Dad).
But I was mistaken. What could have been easily lost in the wilderness of the blogosphere found a way to your screens and to your eyes. Do you know how astounding that feels to a girl that didn’t have the nerve to call herself a “writer”- to be able to now say I had “readers”? As those page hits climbed, so did my confidence. That’s because of you. Every single one of you lovely people scattered across thirty five different countries that tuned in - I don’t know how you found me, and I never imagined in a gazillion years that you would, but you did. And you regularly came back for more! That blows my mind and stings my eyes with proud and salty tears. 'Thank you’ falls short - like Danny DeVito short -but THANK YOU from the deepest part of my heart.
And to all my collaborators who occasionally co-posted throughout, you were the icing on this ginormous Upside Down Cake. If you will indulge me with a bad pun: Each of you are a talent in your own write. Thanks for agreeing to attach your names dangerously close to my improper use of commas. It was such a fun and educational delight to have someone of your caliber to ping-pong ideas with for a change.
365 Attempts At Life is exactly what this became. And even though I would bitch about not knowing what to write, in retrospect, it was a big year for me, and Life itself gave me plenty of content. Some difficult chapters on longing and rejection. Some sad chapters of helplessly shaking my fists at death. Others that celebrated innocence and beauty through the eyes of my niece and nephew (who as they grow, continue to be my greatest counsellors on all things Life). I had the chance to reminisce about my past, my friends and my wacky family. I pondered dating, relationships and the ever changing and mysterious thing that is Modern Love. I struggled with my own health concerns and grappled Loneliness vs. Independence. But most of all, I tried to have fun. To find a way to laugh at myself and have you laugh with me. I know I’m a lame-o, but hopefully you did sometimes.
As for this whole process; it wasn’t easy. Many, many, MANY late nights trying to beat the clock with something new and interesting to say. It was frustrating and challenging but this blog sneakily became a close friend that I was grateful to come home to. And like any good friend, it taught me to listen, to watch, to empathize, to appreciate, to be present, to understand the people I've connected with and most importantly to get a little closer to understanding myself. They weren’t all outstanding pieces, or Pulitzer Prize winners - there are maybe a few in there at best that I am really proud of, but the point was to play with words every day -to attempt a written piece - and I did that.
What’s next, you say? Well, for starters, A BREAK!! My brain and poor lil’ laptop are a wee bit worn out. I am taking a much needed Girls Trip to NYC to regroup, so that I can charge ahead with fresh eyes and a fresh mind. I do have a few things on the boil, including an interesting and exciting written collaboration with Irreverend James and the Critical Mass Choir. Please bookmark their site, it’s going to be lots of fun. Aside from that, my gut seems to be leaning towards script-writing. A whole new adventure that I’d like to embark upon! Please continue to stay tuned here on the blog. I plan on coming back to compile a Top 25. (I would LOVE to hear what your picks are, feel free to let me know in the comments below). Once my new website is constructed, I'll post the link here so you may keep tabs on my future projects - I have a feeling there will be quite a few. As this drawn-out post demonstrates rather well - now, I just can’t seem to shut up!
Am I sad this 365 day marathon is over? No- GOD NO! A bit. Yeah OK, a lot. This has been tremendously good for me. I shall probably print it and turn it into a coffee table book for myself. It is a time capsule of one whole year and will forever serve as a reminder: listening to my gut and doing the things I am afraid of, will always lead me back to my own heart. And friends, if you think you can't - you actually can. You just have to kick yourself in the ass and do the work.
I leave you now with some inspiring words from Ira Glass that perfectly bookend this experience for me.
Thank you, again, for holding my hand and being part of it.
Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.