You know how a line from a movie often permanently etches its way into your brain and comes to mind frequently?
A line from the movie, A Knight’s Tale, is one of those quotes for me. Adhemar, the villain, assaults defenseless underdog hero William and pummels judgment on him, “You have been weighed [punch], you have been measured [another punch], and you have been found wanting [final blow]. In what world could you possibly beat me?”
Every so often, even though I knew better, I compared myself to my peers, especially when it came to writing. And sometimes I thought I just didn’t measure up.
I confess that when I log in to my blog site, I check my daily stats because statistics float my boat. Stats have been high recently, but when I analyze the breakdown, I see reality.
Most ‘hits’ on my blog aren’t for reading purposes; instead search engines hit on images used in my posts. Actual readers of my blog seem quite low compared to search engine hits. Even my Wordless Wednesday photos get more action than my written posts.
I’m a simple writer. I don’t write elaborate, flowery sentences nor do I use a myriad of literary devices. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m a very creative writer either and I don’t write fiction. That’s probably why I don’t possess a burning desire to be a published novelist. There are no fully-developed characters or intricate plots bouncing around inside my brain ready to burst forth into life onto a blank page.
I write about basic, uncomplicated things that occur to me from everyday sources and often from my faith. I’m not much of a humor writer, nor am I satirical. I find many writers today to be irreverent, edgy, sarcastic, profane, or politically correct. I am none of those. I’m pretty certain some people may think I write schmaltz – excessive sentimentality.
Early in my blogging efforts, I once received a caustic comment which I chose not to publish because not only did it insult me, it insulted the God I serve. The commenter accused me, among other things, of writing “drivel.” That person is entitled to his/her opinion, but that schmaltzy drivel that I write comes sincerely straight from my heart. If that makes me mundane, so be it.
I figured out my writing style a long time ago. Once upon a time, I sat around my college dorm room composing really bad poetry and short stories in an effort to prove to myself, my peers, and my professors that I really was a “creative English major.” I also wrote scads of papers about symbolism, archetypal images, and other literary terms for my classes. But those papers were forced because identifying those aspects didn’t come naturally to me.
I was one of those rare English majors who liked grammar. Grammar makes sense to me. Diagramming sentences is a breeze because it’s logical. Syntax, sentence structure, is like an equation, which is why my Structures of English class earned me an easy A while my fellow English majors (those creative types who saw symbolism in everything I couldn’t, while spouting poetry at the drop of a hat) struggled to pass the tests.
I often questioned why I even had become an English major. I loved to read and I enjoyed writing since stringing sentences together was a piece of cake. I’m fairly sure those were the main two criteria I used to decide upon my major.
While enrolled in a journalism class, I realized writing about facts came extremely easy to me and was so much more enjoyable than writing about symbolism in a poem. Just give me the facts and I can weave them into a story pronto.
When I was a college senior and getting weary of college life, my university initiated a Communications major. Journalistic writing, speech, and oral interpretation classes, even acting, were more my speed than trying to identify archetypal images in Flannery O’Connor stories.
By this point though, I was already scheduled to student teach and since I was one semester away from graduation, now wasn’t the time to change majors. I also did not want to incur the extra expense or time required to earn a Communications degree, so I settled for my B.S. in English Education.
But somehow, I just never fit the English major role, no matter how hard I tried. I weighed and measured and found myself wanting. No doubt I’m too literal, facts oriented, and a realist to boot. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading classic works of literature, poetry, and drama; I’m just never going to be the writer of such worthy works. And I feel it’s safe to say you won’t see me on the New York Times Best Sellers List.
My English teacher days came to a halt when I realized I just didn’t like teaching. So instead I found a niche, for a time, writing feature stories in a daily newspaper, editing other people’s works, and volunteering to write and edit newsletters for various organizations.
All of these many years later, I am a blog writer. I shouldn’t compare my blog to others, but sometimes I attempt to ‘measure’ my writing by ‘weighing’ it against Freshly Pressed blogs on WordPress, or writers whose blogs I stumble upon, or bloggers/aspiring novelists.
So give me the facts, ma’am, just the facts. I’m a college-educated person with an English degree who really just writes because that’s what I do to express ideas that come to my mind. My one shot claim to fame being Freshly Pressed was possibly the only experience of hitting the ‘big time’ with my blog that I’ll get.
My writing probably does not appeal to the masses, to those on the cutting edge, or to those who want to read about social or political issues of the day (believe me, I have distinct opinions on those but I choose not to publish them), or those who like to read particular genres.
I am a writer of life. My life. Real life. My blog is a hodge-podge of thoughts, ideas, and experiences about family and faith because those things make up my life and give me joy each day in my book called Opportunity. I hit the publish button in an attempt to share some of that joy, or insight, or opportunity to brighten another person’s day or give them something to consider.
And I believe I’ve finally learned to stop trying to be like other writers and just be me. I’ve weighed, I’ve measured, and I’ve balanced.
See that Shakespeare class I took all those years ago really did teach me something because I have never forgotten a line in Hamlet (Act 1, Scene 3). The ill-fated Polonius, the King’s chief advisor/spy, gives fatherly advice to his departing son Laertes. “This above all: to thine own self be true…”
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