One More Time

I have been blogging for five years now.

In September of 2008, when I was a high school senior who fancied myself enough of a writer that I thought I should do it publicly (still not sure if that was a good idea), I started my first blog.  It was drama-laden and iffy at best in the adjectives department and still exists if you really want to go there.  But don’t think I’ll be providing the URL.

Actual picture of high school me in an actual marching band uniform.  I look like such a baby.  I wish I could go back in time and warn myself not to take Intro to Statistics.

Actual picture of high school me in an actual marching band uniform (I’m on the left). I look like such a baby.  So naive about the ways of the world.  I wish I could go back in time and warn myself not to take Intro to Statistics in college.

In September of 2011, I began my second blog upon departing for a semester in Salzburg, Austria.  I only posted about a dozen times on that one, since I was, you know, living my grandest Sound of Music daydreams.

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In December of 2011, back from my travels, I decided that I didn’t want to return to the high school Blogger blog, and anyway, I had a new goal in mind: I was resolved to blog once a day, every day for the entire new year.  Thus Eight Days a Week was born on WordPress.  When that year ended I stuck around for another year, blogging about whatever struck my fancy.

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In September of 2013, I decided to start yet another blog.  My last, I fervently hope.  I have long wanted my blog to be its own website, to have a higher level of creative control, to have a chance to join blogging communities, and to interact with blog readers on a larger scale.  Additionally, while the name suited my original project well, Eight Days a Week no longer describes what I’m trying to do as a blogger and writer.

So, I’ve moved.  One more time.

Don’t think for a moment that this changes much.  Goodness knows I’ll be writing the same goofy sagas and literary rants as always.  Also, as I mentioned before, my posts from Eight Days a Week have transferred over to the new blog, so the gang’s truly all there.

Although it’s not really goodbye, I want to take what feels like a solemn moment to thank all of you for reading, for following, for liking, for commenting.  Thanks for not rolling your eyes when eye rolling was more than justified.  At least, thanks for not rolling your eyes where I could see you.  It has meant a great deal to have the support of fine folks such as yourselves.

I hope that you’ll follow the link below to the new blog**, where an introduction is waiting:

http://www.hollyinspec.com

**Please note that if you’d like to continue to receive my posts in your email, you’ll have to resubscribe at my new blog (link above).  I will no longer be posting on Eight Days a Week.  

For Writers

This is my 365th post.  If you’ll remember, a few years ago I made a pact to post on this blog every day for a year.  If I had kept that pact, I would have reached my 365th post long before now.  But I’m still here, and I’m proud as anything of that.  In honor of this special occasion, I thought I’d let someone else talk about writing and its strife.  Although I admit I haven’t experienced a number of the extremes he mentions, I’m glad to think that if I work harder–if I truly work to hone my craft–I can join the ranks of him, and of all the other talented names on my bookshelf.  If not their ranks, then hopefully I can at least share in some of their noble sufferings.

“Damn the Writers”

By Owen Egerton

Dear God,

Spare a blessing for the writers.

We have traded in the bars and bullfights for university jobs and Netflix. We sink into credit card debt awaiting publication, then find the advance won’t cover the monthly interest. Oh Lord, the books that took us years and blood have the shelf life of warm goat milk. In desperation, we write zombie erotica ebooks under false names, outselling our life’s work 10 to 1. Our friends and family flip through our drafts, shake their heads, and return to their game of Candy Crush Saga.

In the midst of all this, may we be writers.

May we grieve and sin and celebrate all in the same swallow.

May we seize morning light and squeeze it into ink and toner.

Grant us coffee and honesty and laptops that do not connect to the internet.

Teach us to be chefs, plucking herbs from sidewalk cracks and mushrooms from basement floors. And if we fail to provide nourishment for the hungry, may we at least offer the aroma of cooking.

We are starving, God. Every last one of us.

May we persevere remembering Emily Dickinson, John Kennedy Toole, and Henry David Thoreau. That said, God, we’d like the timing to be a little kinder in our case.

Deliver us, oh Lord, from the temptation to once again check our Amazon ranking or Google our own name.

May we write books worthy of being banned, outrageous enough to be burned.

May we offend.

May we be open to the wisdom of our colleagues and not a give a fuck if the workshop likes it.

May we visit the hearts of pedophiles and tour bus conductors and volunteers working suicide hotlines.

May we sneak into the funerals of strangers.

May we run mad so we may write for the mad. May we face brokenness so we can give voice to the broken.

A little happiness would be nice as well.

May we remember that how we live is essential to how we write. And refuse to live small.

Stoned or sober, may we piss in the pools of wealthy neighbors, eat in bars with health code violations, and steal bibles from homeless shelters.

May we make love loudly, even when alone.

May we embarrass, embarrass, embarrass ourselves.

May we be lost. May we pen maps so others might become lost as well.

May our greatest risk not be our words but our lives. And may our lives spill words like molten rock.

Damn the writers, God. Then bless us with the words to describe it.

If I sound ridiculous it is because I am ridiculous. This is my religion. This is my faith.

God, cast your gaze upon us. See us in the kitchens, closets, coffee houses. Sitting and scribbling, typing, staring off between words. We raise our souls like a sloshing glass of grain alcohol. We toast one another. We smash the glass and light a match.

Forgive our clichés. Heal our poor grammar. And thank you, dear God, for Spell Check.

Oh Lord, hear our prayer.

Amen.

Why I Will Never Be “Athletic People”

I’ve been watching my mother run races and triathlons for years now.  I arrive with my dad and sister, crusty-eyed and cold in the early morning.  I almost always feel self-conscious amongst all of the “athletic people.”  They flex in their spandex and their calves ripple.  They pinch their bike tires, calloused fingers feeling the subtle swell and fall of the air inside, like a rubber heart beat.  They laugh and smile with their families, but soon, they are determined, and they are focused.  They do not pause, and they only smile again to encourage a fellow racer, and at the moment of their final stride under the balloon-marked finish line.

But this morning, albeit still bleary-eyed and chilled, I ran amongst them.  I ran an entire 5k, with a little bit of walking because I was stupid and ate half of a Lara Bar this morning, and then had to throw it up in the tunnel along the route.  That was gross.  It also made me feel slightly tough.  As in, my stomach is pretending to be Shawn Johnson right now, so I’m simply going to toss my cookies in a corner of a public pathway and continue on my merry way.

Despite the pause, and despite the attained toughness, the last mile was hard.  There were hills, and there were 85-year-old men passing me (humbling and awe-inspiring), and I was sweaty inside my oven of an Under Armour shirt.  But as I rounded the last bend, behind the grocery store, behind the dentist I switched from because he was a little drill happy for my taste, behind the car wash, the crowd came into view.  It was parted, and a narrow path — the path I was on — lay in the middle.  Let me tell you something I learned today: it is difficult to stop and walk when your mother is holding a camera, when people you know are cheering your name and people you don’t are simply cheering.  It is difficult, also, to pick up your pace and hurtle toward the finish with the best form you can muster.  But that’s what I did, because I have a — often deeply-buried — competitive streak.  I also just wanted to finish quickly so that I could stop running.

And so it’s over, and my legs are sore, and my running tights are streaked with vomit, but my friends, I ran a 5K.

Happy Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for bleach and for legs that can carry me farther than I ever thought possible.  And for pie, of which I partook with a relish that surely further deepened the gorge between me and “athletic people.”

The Ball Has Been Dropped

Well, I’ve done it.  I really thought I was going to make it, but I skipped a post for poor March 20th.  Not on purpose, mind you.  I was planning on writing a post before going to work (I work 10-midnight), but I completely forgot.

In my defense, this is the busiest my life has ever been.  When I’m not in class or at work, I’m campaigning.  I’m meeting with students, student groups, faculty, staff, etc.  If I’m not doing that, I’m sitting in the student government office brainstorming with my running mate. This campaign has gotten personal, quite suddenly; I’ve started to think about how much it will mean for me to win this position, and how I’ll feel should we lose.  (I’ll feel terrible)

I want this, you guys, and I believe in our platform and our goals and I truly think that we’re the best people for the positions.  I also believe that should this election go to the team that wants it the most, we would win.  And what a terrible, wonderful thought that is.

Anyway, to continue my defense, I’ve been stressed with the above, and overtired because I was up until 5 am studying for the darn statistics midterm.  And I forgot.

I’m a little mad at myself for this one, but I will certainly not let it happen again.

I WILL talk to you tomorrow.

 

 

Day One

You may notice that, even after all my highly ambitious claims in the “About” section, it is now January 2nd and I’m posting for the first time.

Yes, I missed a day.  And I’m sorry.

However, in my defense, yesterday I was awfully busy watching multiple Minnesota teams playing multiple sports lose multiple games.  And then I was busy consoling myself with spinach dip and a victorious round of Trivial Pursuit.  And so it goes.

Anyway, I’ll simply post until January 2nd, 2013 to make up the difference.  No harm done, right?

To start out this blog, I want to make some statements about what I’m trying to do here.

Firstly, I’m an aspiring writer.  English major, as a matter of fact.  And while I’ve been blogging since 2008, I’ve never been exactly regular about it.  I tend to post only when I have something big to say.  Or when I’m feeling guilty about not posting.  Or during Finals Week when I need an outlet for my moans and groans, and justification for my procrastination.  This sporadicity has been getting on my nerves lately.  If I truly want to grow as a writer (and I do), then I need to make writing a daily habit.

Here’s where the blogging comes in.  At least once a day, for an entire year.  That’s the goal.  And although I thought about it, I’m not going to make a post word minimum for myself, and I’m not going to set any standards for content.  While I’ll certainly try to write thoughtful, illuminating, entertaining posts, I can’t guarantee that there won’t be days where I will simply compose some silly poem, or crank out a list of my favorite Spielberg films (Gremlins, anyone?).

The point is simply to write.

Additionally, I should mention that pardons will be permitted for emergencies.  Some days it’s simply not feasible to write a post.  These days are few, and I hope they won’t impact this blog, but if they do they do.  I’ll try to make it up to you the next day with some serious groveling and an extra-long post on a topic of your choice.

Finally, because we’ve just been introduced, and because you’re not sure yet whether to bookmark this blog or to simply check back in 30 days to see if I’m a liar or not, here are my credentials:

Blog No. 1 (The Personal Blog).  This blog chronicles the good the bad and the ugly, beginning my senior year of high school.  Prepare for drama, prepare for bad poetry, and prepare for tangible evidence that I have, in fact, matured over the past three years (I hope).

http://staygoldponyboy88.blogspot.com/

Blog No. 2 (The Travel Blog).  Last semester (September 9th-December 15th) I studied in Salzburg, Austria.  I had a fantastic time, learned a lot, and took more pictures than Mac can currently handle without running at a speed akin to corn growing.  Note: I visited many more places than are represented on this blog, but know that I have plans to keep posting until I catch up.

http://staygoldponyboy8.wordpress.com/

Thanks for hearing me out.  I hope to see you tomorrow.