Tuesday, January 10, 2012

This One's for You

I’m 43 years old, and 2011 is the year my life as a writer began.  It really started in June, with thunderstrokes.  I started blogging for a definite purpose, to establish a showcase, or maybe portfolio is a better word, of my work as a writer. 

The underlying intention was that by starting a blog, I might be able to get over the fear of putting my work, and myself, out there.  That fear had always been my biggest enemy and had stymied my progress not just for years, but for decades.  I always knew I could write well, but I also knew that didn’t automatically translate into writing that anyone else would want to read.  I was also afraid of being rejected.  My writing is the product of me, and if my writing is rejected, it’s really me that’s rejected.  The best way to avoid rejection, according to this way of thinking, was to not do anything.  Fear, that irrational, pervasive beast, kept me motionless.   

So the blog was a big step forward for me, because it meant that anyone could see what I was writing.  Of course, that meant the possibility of rejection existed for the first time.  Theoretically everyone could read me now, and potentially hate what I’m doing.  But the reality is that, due to the infinite vastness of the internet and Google’s mysterious ways, you can be available to everyone, but only exist for a few.  And the further reality is, people who don’t like what you do just don’t come back. What you end up with are pretty much people who respond positively to something in your writing.

And that’s where you come in.  You may not realize this, but you, the reader, are an essential part of this blog, and an essential part of what I’m doing.  You probably aren’t clear as to the significance of your contribution, so allow me to enlighten you.

It matters to me to know that there are people out there who are enjoying what I’m doing.  Knowing that you find any interest in what I have to say consistently blows my mind and inspires me.  When I started thunderstrokes, I had no idea I would be as productive or as creative as the first six months have proven to be. I never would have believed it remotely possible.  I wrote in isolation for decades, surreptitiously, as though expressing myself were an illegal act, because I was afraid that people wouldn’t like or understand what I wrote.  It was like writing in a drought, where the seeds of ideas were hard to come by, and even harder to cultivate.  But the experience of the blog has been the opposite, with ideas germinating and growing faster and faster, piling up in pages and pages of possible posts, some of which I know I will never even have the opportunity to write.  After six short months, I have blessed with a surplus harvest, and to a large extent I believe it’s because I have people to write for.  I have you.
When I post something, and then, some time later, see that people have stopped what they’re doing to check it out, it salves my wounded convictions, and renews my resolve to continue striving to deliver great stuff (at least as I define it).  When people ask me when the next installment of “Uncle Day Weekend” is going to be posted, or when I’m going to add to the “Taughter Files,” and I sense an almost urgent authenticity in the request, instead of mere well-wishing (which is still appreciated), I add another checkmark in the “Glad We Came This Way” column.  When someone compliments a post I didn’t think had any impact at all, or comments on a post that I’d forgotten I’d actually written, instead of just thinking about writing, it temporarily snuffs out the doubt, and allows me to continue being brave enough to write the next thing I really want to write, instead of what I think I should write.  That’s what you, the True Blue Friends (TBF’s) bring to this blog.  

So please don’t underestimate your contribution to thunderstrokes.  I don’t. This is a joint venture, and I see each one of you as a stakeholder.  It is always my goal to give you something good, and to reward your investment of time and energy with something greater than what you put into it.  You may not like everything I write, but hopefully it comes across that at least I am trying wholeheartedly to give you the best of me.

Thanks for a great 2011, and a hopeful 2012!


  1. Kevin - I love thunderstokes! I enjoy keeping up with you and your family (loved the post about the Veterans' Day Parade - I remember walking in it when my kid was a Cub Scout.) Anyway - you really are a great writer and I look forward to reading your work. (Now, when I write that on a kid's paper, it is the ultimate compliment, so take it to heart.)

  2. I remember asking my mom once how she came up with enough ideas for her column and she said,"It's easy. Knowing that I have something to say, and that there are people out there who want to hear it, opens the floodgates for ideas to write about." Sound familiar?

  3. Sue- It's so great to know that you're enjoying thunderstrokes! (I want to emphasize the word 'so,' and blasted Blogger won't let me italicize, bold, or underline it!). I know if there's someone who's not going to read writing that doesn't interest them when they don't have to, it's an English teacher, so I am truly honored by your comments. And as someone who considered himself to be your student for the better part of four years, I do take your comments to heart. Thanks so much for reading and being a part of the blog!!!

  4. Hutton - Knowing that your mom was a talented and well-respected voice here in the Valley for many years, and had the same experience, must mean I'm doing something right!!! And thank you for being such a big part of thunderstrokes.

  5. Thank you for sharing with us. I have much respect and love for you and your family for starting this journey. I am glad to be a participant.

  6. SonofThor - Thanks for the kind words. Glad I can count you as a reader!