knees knocking

I did something completely terrifying this weekend.
No, I did not ride the Titan or sky dive or spend the night in a haunted house.
Instead, I went to a conference. At a church. With some really nice people.
But, here is the catch.
It was a writing conference.

Still don’t see what was terrifying about this.
Well, some of these people were "real" writers.
They have written actual books, and articles and have their own websites.
Even the aspiring ones seemed to be carting around a manuscript or a service.

Me, well.
I blog.
Along with everyone and their grandma.
And after attending this conference, trust me everyone’s grandma has a blog.

I want to write.
But I’m not sure what exactly.
This kind of stuff.
But how do I describe that when you go around the dinner table with all these people who actually belong here, and someone finally asks me the dreaded question.
The one that I have been praying no one will actually ask me.
The one that makes my knees knock a little bit and my stomach start to churn.

“So, what are you working on, what do you write?”

You see, normally I have a safe answer to questions about what I do.
I teach high school.
This normally gets me a look of admiration, or pity or fear. And sometimes all three.
But to this question. The one about my writing,
I wonder if I can say “pass”.

I want to write.
For real.
I want to have projects that I am working on.
Manuscripts on my thumb drive.
Query letters in my portfolio.
And article ideas kicking around in my head.
Instead I just have a desire.
And maybe a voice.
And know that coming here and admitting that
Could be the first step.
To eventually having an actual answer.
So I mumble through my response while looking at my shoes.
Or just try to think of something funny and clever to say instead.

I am realizing that as a grown up – I have been playing it too safe.
My kids and students are forced into opportunities to fail all the time.
Tests, quizzes, play tryouts, asking that cute girl out on a date, SATs, or the Friday night game. But I have created a life with very little opportunities to fail.
At least significant ones.
Like aspiring dreams.

Instead maybe my lesson might fail, and my kids won’t ever really understand projectile motion.
Or the new recipe will fail, and we order pizza.
Or I can’t really get to all the places I am supposed to be, and Owen is late to soccer practice.
But nothing that is really going to hurt. Like a rejection letter.
It is comfortable and cozy here and most of the time I like it.
Except, when someone asks me just the right question and I know that I want to have more to answer with.
So today, I am ready to get serious and give myself the chance to fail.
Or maybe even succeed.

4 comments:

samskat said...

Your stuff is good. Really good. Not that I'm any kind of critic, but I think that it would be a shame for you not to give it a shot, for yourself, and for the rest of the world.

Good luck. Can't wait to say "I knew you when...."

Sarah said...

I would appreciate it if you would stop writing stuff that makes me think more deeply about my life and decisions. Thanks.

mary bailey said...

Someone recommended this post to me. Very well written, and honest, and true. This really resonated with me.

Alyssa said...

Glad you came along this year! Can't wait to see where you go from here.