I had a wild office crew when I worked at a major telecommunications outfit back in the heady 80’s. People, including the bosses, basically let the tech and management development training staffs handle business like a college frat house (with the small number of females on staff being equal to, or better than, us in the prank department.
My second day there I walked into a dismantlement of our director’s office, looked at the two pranksters and immediately joined in, not even thinking of potential consequences.
Somewhere there’s a video of that staff producing one of the best satirical shows ever. I remember being the ‘host’ doing my best straight man routine with one of our admins dressed to kill beside me grooming me and flirting HARD with me while I tried to run my lines. I think we ended up on the floor…
That’s just to give you a little taste because this is really about being blocked…
No, not that kind of blocked, writer’s block silly!
One of the pranksters put one of those “Stuck Chuck” stickers on my name plate just outside my cube. You might remember the series of goofy faced critters with all sorts of stupid names if you’re old and silly enough yourself. Frankly I balance my serious side with a healthy dose of silly (or gross as my fifteen year old daughter puts it most times) because I’d be committed by now if I didn’t.
So just a little while ago I committed to writing an essay a week this coming year and I’d been alternating between staring at this empty page on my computer and combing between the two journals I always carry on trips for ideas and none of them were at all enticing to me.
Then for some reason I remembered Stuck Chuck’s silly ass face and started laughing. “Why”, I asked myself, “does it have to be something serious? Why not just write about being stuck and laughing at yourself?”
Another admin in that office, after reading some of my handwritten notes for a class I was designing, came running into my cube all excited and said, “You write just like you talk Chuck!” I didn’t type at all in those days which is why I’d asked her to transcribe my work. I’d never thought that much about style, just wanted to make sure that what I’d put down made sense, gave enough intellectual heft to the exercises I’d be leading in classes, and would garner at least good, if not great, evaluations. (BTW, I killed those evaluations. Even better, my work in that business unit was chosen to be ‘best practices’ for the development of management and leadership development in the newly forming company that we were being merged into.) Okay, that not so humble brag was the impetus for me to start typing with the Stuck Chuck prompt roaring at me in my head.
Good enough. But what I realized was that I don’t have to impress anyone. When I write what I write can take on a life of its own (thanks Vanessa) and I become a conduit for those words to gain presence on the page. Surrendering to the process is what it takes. While I haven’t been putting stuff out and while I’ve been very self indulgent with (exceedingly) bad writing in my journals I have been engaged in the process.
So, serious or silly, #52essays2017
Maybe I’ll remember how to write like I talk again!
More soon…oh, yeah, next week!
Edit: And this is important…(Written by my friend, VONA sister, writer extraordinaire, Vanessa Martir, who published an essay a week in 2016)
What are the rules?
This isn’t about producing a polished essay. This is about surrendering to process. This is for you, no one else.
There is no word limit. It can be as short or as long as you like. Just try to dig into the stories. Why is this coming up? What is it you’re not saying? What is it you want to say? Why? Dig!
You have to post an essay a week, which isn’t easy. I have missed a week here or there but posted it later, usually not past the following Monday. If you miss a week, okay. Don’t beat yourself up. Just try. Push. Write. Then post it.
Tag your essay with the hashtag: #52essays2017.