I was thinking about my blog the other day and for some reason this image popped into my head:
It’s the work of the Belgian surrealist artist Magritte.
I was first introduced to this painting, called The Treachery of Images, in Art History class in university. I’ve always loved it. For those of you who don’t speak French, “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, translates into English as: “This is not a pipe”.
Now you may say, “but it sure looks like a pipe!”
And I would say, “why yes! It sure does look like a pipe. But it is not a pipe. It is simply an image of a pipe. It's a fake. An impostor!”
As Magritte himself said, “…could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture ‘This is a pipe,’ I’d have been lying!"
For some reason the idea of this has always struck me as incredibly witty and yet exceptionally profound at the same time. Three cheers for Magritte.
But I digress. To go into a deep analysis of surrealist art would be to avoid the real reason behind this post, which is for me to announce that:
“Je ne suis pas un écrivain” or “I am not a writer”.
And just like with the Magritte painting, you might say, “but you sure look like a writer!”
And I would say, “why yes! I do look like a writer, but I am not a writer. I am simply creating the image of a writer. I'm am a fake. I am but an impostor!”
Or, at least I don’t feel like a writer. Not this week anyway.
Lately I have been afraid to write a real honest-to-goodness post because I don’t feel like a good writer. Or, not a good enough writer. And I want to be great but I’ve been seriously discouraged lately by the deluge of thoughtful and meaningful posts I’ve read on other blogs that feature perfect imagery, wonderful analogies, heartfelt emotions or beautiful, lyrical prose. These posts are all written by writers. Real, honest-to-goodness writers. Students of writing. People who actually took creative writing in school and know what they are doing. This is not me. This blog is the first thing I’ve ever written creatively in my entire life.
(Actually that’s not true. I wrote a couple of screenplays once, but yesterday in an attempt to convince myself that I was a writer I went back and read them again. And let’s just say it only discouraged me more. But I digress, again.)
I know what I want to write, but I’m afraid to write it. I want to be excellent, but I’m not willing to put in the effort to be excellent. Writers join clubs. Writers study other writers. Writers immerse themselves in the practice of writing.
I don’t even have time to get through an entire Reader’s Digest in one sitting.
And with all due respect to those of you who have complimented my writing in the past, I think I can explain it like this; when it comes to writing at best I am:
a) A good thinker.
b) A fast typist.
I’m lucky enough that my typing can almost keep up with my brain. When you read my posts, it comes out pretty much exactly the way I was thinking it, with very little editing. (Which could explain a lot. Like, why some of my posts are so flippin’ long, or why some of them don’t make any sense at all.)
But enough about that. I love writing this blog, so I’m posting this in order to purge these negative thoughts in order to carry on. I must stop being discouraged by other posts and how great they are. (And/or how they so often take the words right out of my mouth and how I’d feel like a complete tool if I just regurgitated everything they’ve already said.)
Would it make for a lame blog if each day I only wrote one post which simply said:
"Here's what I wish I'd written today."
And then followed it with a link to the
offending amazing post?
Yes. That would make for a lame blog.
So instead of hiding behind posts full of photographs and silly blah blah blahs about painted wooden spoons and knitted hats, I really need to get back to the business of writing and stop comparing myself to all the other writers out there. With a bazillion blogs on the internet, I can’t write with the hopes of becoming the next Dooce. I’m not going to make a living off my blog. It’s just not realistic. But does the fact that I’m never going to make a living off my blog mean I shouldn’t write? Absolutely not. It doesn’t even fall within the parameters of why I write this blog anyway.
So what if I’m not a writer.
All I know is that I need to get on with telling my stories because if I don’t, who will?
Oh, and knowing what I know now, maybe I should have taken Creative Writing in university instead of Art History...
ps – I swear this isn’t a cry for ego strokes, I just need to express my self-doubt out loud. I need to purge so I can stop worrying about "not being a writer" and just get on with writing. Thanks.