Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Thank You to my Readers

“But you must understand that no one ever gives anything to another properly and really without keeping it… Of one thing you may be sure, that while you hold it, I hold it too.”

These are the words spoken by Princess Irene’s great-great-grandmother in “The Princess and the Goblin”, by George MacDonald, when she gifts her a ring that holds one end of a magical string, the ball of which the old lady keeps within her own cabinet.

On this the eve of my 35th birthday, I am honored to accept an award from my friend Leticia. She has nominated me for the Nice Matters Bloggers Award.

“This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded please pass on to seven others whom you feel are deserving of this award”.

I in turn would like to nominate the following bloggers who have both inspired and encouraged me:

1. Leticia Velasquez, my dear friend, at Cause of Our Joy

2. Joanna Gerold, my sister, at Part of Something

3. Chris Cummings, her fiancé, at Inside Out

4. Angie, who also hosts Catholic Mothers Online, at Many Little Blessings

5. Alice Gunther, at Cottage Blessings, whom I originally knew as host of Immaculate Holy Mother Homeschool Yahoo Group.

6. Natalie, one of my new readers from British Columbia, Canada, hosts a blog called Bigger Families; Faces from the Past, where she features old photos of bigger families. She is looking for contributions from other family archives.

7. Michelle Harmon at Downblogger for her beautiful poem, "No Greater Love than to Lay Down Your Life".

What is a writer? Or, more correctly, who is a writer?

If you have a child, you are a mother. Noone asks, “Have I heard of your child? Is he famous? How many children have you had? What do the critics think of your children? Are you a good mother?” to qualify you as worthy of the title Mother.

For many years I have shied away from calling myself a writer. I knew I was one, for a writer is one who writes, but I was embarrassed. I did not want to be perceived as a “wannabe”. I had not done much publishing since my college years, when I wrote for the student paper and published a thesis. So I was afraid of the polite questions people ask when you pronounce yourself a writer.

I longed to tell the world, “I am a writer! I am a writer!” I yearned to talk about what I was writing, yet was afraid it would interfere with the “creative process”. And so I kept it secret, confiding my dreams to only a select few friends.

When I declared my intentions to stop homeschooling, people started asking me what I planned to do with my “spare time”. Never mind that I had a new baby coming – I still felt I had to explain away my time. For Mothers are not seen as productive – we just are who we are.

And so I “came out”, in a gradual way. I told people I would be working on my unfinished novels. On the children’s school applications, I put down my occupation as “Freelance Writer”.

How much writing did I really do during the last school year? Not much - other than keeping my daily journal. I have written in earlier posts about the difficulties I had to battle this year. When one is tired from a baby who refuses to sleep all night, and in chronic pain from recovery from a car accident, it is hard to be be creative with your words, and physically difficult to sit at a computer for long periods of time.

As June approached, I realized with horror that I had not mailed out any proposals all year. In that last week before school let out, the fire got into my belly. I turned out five items and sent them out – hoping a little in their success, but mostly just proud that I had produced them and put them out there.

Then I took out every library book that could be had on marketing. By the time I got through those, I had had enough of reading about writing. I was ready to just write.

And then I heard about the blogosphere, through my friend Leticia. It took just five minutes to set up my own account, and I was thrust into a new phase of my writing career. Frankly, I was surprised at the amount of writing I was able to do with all of the kids home. Yet I would write in my head all day and the moment the kids were in bed I would turn on my computer. And I would be doing what I loved. (One of these days someone will come up with a thought recorder that you can attach to your head. Then you could write with ease while cooking, swimming, and playing with your kids.)

In just over a month of blogging, I have received much more than the public recognition I had long hoped for. I feel I have been liberated in such a fundamental way. My readers and I have both given and received encouragement and inspiration to and from each other. And so I thank you, my readers, for without you this would not have been possible.

“Edify one another.” – St. Paul


Alice Gunther said...

Elizabeth, I am so grateful to you for this kind nomination and thrilled to see that you have a blog!

I am so glad to be able to read your writing and look forward to keeping up!

"The Divine Gift of Motherhood" is a wonderful name--and so very true!

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

A beautiful post.

I too always shy away from calling myself a writer. I am not a "writer" in that I am not published or earning a living from it. But a "writer" is who I am. It is how I process. Even when I am too busy and tired to "write," and even though I am not a "great" writer and I will never win awards for my writing nor probably ever publish a book, it is still who I am.

(And hopefully no one will judge my writing from this poorly written comment at 2:44am!!! LOL But you know what I am mean right??? LOL)

Just hopped over here from DownBlogger.