Hello there, Sarah the Frase here, reporting to you from the state of annoyed ambivalence.
I quit a career and moved four states away from home to write a novel. And I am able to joyously report that I have begun it. After a year and a half of running language sprints to thin out my adverbs, cutting out fatty “be verbs,” and front loading my cerebrum with as much theology and literature as human beings may handle, I write.
And when I write, like Nina in Checkhov’s The Seagull, I find I’ve been walking around and thinking and believing that my soul grows stronger every day.
But the same can’t be said for my Twitter feed.
Or my Instagram. My blog sits in a sorry state of neglect.
I look at my friends with their blossoming followings, their high resolution photos, their clean color pallets, their crisp yet friendly sans serif fonts, their clever titles and I envy. How do they do it?
Short punchy paragraphs and good humor, and all of it proofread and uploaded in 24 hours or less.
Read Platform, people tell me. It’s not that hard. And I smile and nod and recall how reading even a few pages of this honest book blocked me for days.
Envy not only turns me into my ugly self I least want to manifest, it slides into despair and doubt. I fear I shall not make it as a writer after all. How I wish I could follow my braver Luddite friends, say, “screw it” and drop off the edge of the world wide web. Instead, a few paltry posts and a growing sense of inadequacy ensues, followed by tearful prayer, more fear and guilt mongering (self-inflicted) and finally this annoyed ambivalence where I’ve come to dwell.
I do not like living in a world where my ideas are judged by the number of people who favorite them.
But neither do I wish to cast technology aside, when I see how it can bring a crucial truth to just one person and change them. I praise God that I live in that world, where a little comments box can begin conversations that skip o’er the gaps between nations, ethnicities, gender or age and just get real.
So I pray again. I ask: please make me better. Please help me trust more.
I want to write with rapture, with delight.
I go back to the words.
I will do Platform someday, but today is not that day. Today is for writing.
And a little reading:
Nina: “Now I see at last, Kostya, that in our kind of work, whether we’re writers or actors, the important thing is not fame, or glory, not what I used to dream about, but learning how to endure.
I must bear my cross, and have faith. If I have faith, it doesn’t hurt so much, and when I think of my calling I’m not afraid of life.”
~ Anton Chekhov, The Seagull