I used to think writing was easy. And it was easy, for me. It came easily. Teachers gave assignments, some of which restricted my work (use three similes and three metaphors in this five-paragraph essay; write about Lizzie Borden) and some of which were minimums I laughed at (at least two pages, at least eight sentences per paragraph). My words flowed. I wrote daily — I had to, both to keep up with class assignments and because my brain thrived on it, because it made me feel fulfilled and connected with the world outside my little town like nothing else did.

I read constantly, too. That was the other thing that made me feel connected with the big world outside: getting inside other people’s lives, inside their heads even, by reading about what things were like for them, what they were thinking. Books introduced me to new ideas and gave me the intellectual stimulation I desperately sought throughout my youth.

So, what happened? Why haven’t I written anything requiring more thought or effort than message board posts since college?

Well. For one thing, I was horribly burned out by the end of college. Well before the end, in fact; but everyone around me discouraged me strongly from taking a break. “You’ll never come back,” they said; but I think I would have.

But even before that, I wasn’t writing much. It wasn’t all about burnout. It was also about the fact that I didn’t value my writing. It came so easily to me (not that it didn’t require work!) that I didn’t see how I could dedicate my life to it, how I could do that for a living. There were so many warnings about not expecting to be able to support yourself writing that I thought it wasn’t even worthwhile to try and felt I needed to focus my efforts on some profession that would allow me to support myself. And I did. I focused so much on that, that I lost sight of an activity I loved and was (at one time) good at.

So. What is this blog? It’s an effort to get that joy back. We’ll see how it goes; it’s been a long time, and a lot has changed. I’m rusty, and this doesn’t come as easily as it used to. My sense of humor isn’t the same as it was. My writing style, if I can still be said to have one, is surely different. Some of this is good: I’m surely more mature now, and my writing will surely show that. Some of it can, I hope, be mended: if I can get the habit of writing back, much of the rest will surely follow.

Here goes nothing.

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