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When You’re a Jet, You’re a Jet All the Way

I scribbled this all down on a napkin once – with a permanent marker too!

I’ve been scribbling down these notes, or notes just like it, probably since I could scribble down notes. Sometimes I think I’m getting closer to what I want to be when I grow up, and other times, I realize I’m already there, or past there. Writer. Photographer. Mama. Did I think my photography would be on museum walls? Well, yes, I had hoped. Having it on family walls means more these days anyway. Did I think I’d be a published author? Well, yes, I had hoped. Having my name on three different co-authored books means more these days anyway. Did I think I would write for magazines and bring coffee to senior editors in NYC? Well, yes, I hadn’t really hoped, actually (at ALL). Writing my blog means more these days anyway.

I’m thin-skinned. I’m not used to heartbreak or rejection. I think more times than not I’m on fire. Moving, prowling, crawling, reaching for what I want and getting what I want. Not always. I’m either a diligent perfectionist or completely useless. There’s no in-between. There’s a difference, though, and it lies with when I’m doing what I should be doing vs. when I’m doing what I shouldn’t be doing. This week I broke all sorts of molds and records. Did I do well, though? Well.

That remains to be seen.

The contractors returned and we now have a hole in our house. I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s all progress. Even though I live in my basement office and I sometimes can’t remember the last meal I had, or full drink of water, and I’m scheduling back to back photo sessions (which is as big of a no-no to me as drinking two cups of coffee in one day), and I’m writing four blog posts a day, and I’m managing two inboxes, and other people’s content. Can you do ALL of that well, though? Well.

That remains to be seen.

Here are the notes I scribbled down once, on a napkin, and with permanent marker. It’s about writing:

When I was just about Scarlet’s age, I wanted to be a Garbage Man. True story. I’d tell it to anyone who listened! Then I gave up that dream and settled on movie star for a few years. Finally as a teenager, I had things much more figured out:

I wanted to be a Filmmaker/Marine Biologist/Pianist/Poet.

These were all floating dreams. If you nitpicked, you’d see why none of it would have worked:

1. I have no love for the art of film. I’m seriously horrible. I just like movies that have happy endings or make me gasp.

2. I failed Biology freshman year of college. I think Marine Biology might have something to do with Biology.

3. I think to be a Pianist, you need to take piano lessons. For more than two months. That’s just what I think.

4. I’ve only written a few poems in my life and I’m almost certain all of them were written under the influence.

And by “under the influence,” I mean NyQuil or Benadryl.

So when it was time for me to choose a college major, I treated it as the game I thought it was. I deferred my decision. While all of my friends had been focusing on Psychology or Business or Basket Weaving, for years, I finally declared my major the summer before senior year. Somehow I still graduated in four years. I was just that good. It was Journalism.

The magic answer. Six writing classes at once. Enough to make me nauseous. And it did.

After seven years blogging, I think it was the right answer. It wasn’t so random. I was a child who once stayed up nearly all night trying to write a letter to my fourth grade teacher because I had seen her with tears in her eyes one day. She tried to hide them and called them allergies and every other kid in my class believed her. I didn’t. It took me nearly all night to compose what I wanted to say and I said it. She appreciated it and called me at home. She called me “expressive.” I am.

I am someone who has felt like crap about myself FOR YEARS, because I couldn’t seem to figure out what to do with my life.

And maybe, somehow, I’ve been on the right rocky path for awhile. Always over the years, while I was spouting nonsense about being a movie star or poet, I was always writing. (And taking pictures but that’s a separate story) My instinct taught me how to express myself, and maybe even a bit about how to pace myself and find my voice. The schooling in Journalism taught me how to structure my writing, and to consolidate powerful thoughts into more concise stories and articles.

And then one day, seven years ago, I found blogging. And the rest is mere history. I find myself changing so much that I can cringe at the immaturity of a draft I started only a month ago. You have to do it in order to learn it. Then it grows.

I’d like this to not be the end of my story about finding my way back to writing through blogging. I’d like it to be the beginning. I don’t know where this will end up but I know I found my way here for a very strong reason. I’m a writer.

This is what I know. When you’re a writer..

..You spend nearly all night writing a blog post about writing.

..You treat greeting cards as challenges – to write something powerful in as few words as a piece of cardstock will allow.

..You don’t think feedback forms give enough room to say something that’s enough.

..When you go to the Pediatrician and have to fill out forms about your kids, you write so much that you have to turn it over and write on the back. If the back has other questions, you ask for extra paper to attach.

..You’ll find your way to write, no matter what you go through and how you get there.

..When you’re a writer, you always know why you write. It’s the same reason you breathe.

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “Why I Write…” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on any of the matters: HERE.

Why do YOU write?

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  1. What can I say, but so much of this as a writer I can truly relate to, especially that last line and literally commented on Kristi’s post last night saying the same thing. So, once again we got that twin action going on. Oh and you know I am truly so thankful you did begin to blog, because this is how we got to know each other and become friends. For that I will always be grateful – always <3

  2. Reading your blog posts takes more than reading for me, Tamara. It requires attention and processing simply because it evokes a lot of feelings and I like feeling all the feelings! Am I making sense? Probably not. Keep doing what you’re doing and I know that many of us will keep reading your words and feeling all the feels! 🙂

  3. and i thought i was the only one who gets stressed when it comes to actually writing something on a greeting card after excitedly browsing and buying one thinking of all the wonderful and nice things i’m gonna say! lol.

    i really enjoyed reading this post. you’re a great writer. 🙂

  4. I can SO relate to this, so very very much. And then this year I found…through volunteering at the library, yet another job that I love: tending to the library. But then that fits in perfectly, doesn’t it? I keep trying to quite blogging b/c I want to be better at a few other things…especially housekeeping and making sure everyone studies for their tests…but I can’t give it up. Really. I can’t. You are one of my FAVORITES. So glad you blog!

  5. It IS the same reason you breathe! Great post. I stayed up nearly all night (that’s 11’something for me) and then deleted that post. Didn’t even save it in a draft. Congrats to all the things keeping you busy!

  6. When my teeny, tiny daughter was little, she announced that she wanted to be a mail carrier. I thought my sister was going to split her side laughing, as my daughter never carried anything. I wanted to be an actress, but given recent developments, I’m thinking professional organizer was probably a better call:) Why do I write? I enjoy the challenge, and I think it is amazing that the processing of taking thoughts from my head and putting them down connects me to other people. How amazing!

  7. and comments become little postinae, trying to tell a story in response to the post, or even more taxing, trying to be sure my writing voice comes through in ‘Liked the post this week, really could identify’.

    (did enjoy your post)

    ” From your first cigarette, to your last dyin day.”*

  8. Great post, Tamara. I had to laugh at some of the how you know when you’re a writer, list. Writing on the back of the Pediatrician form—LOL. I have done that so I must be a writer, too. You’re an awesome writer and photographer. I hope you continue to do both. You should definitely put your 8 part love story into an ebook.

  9. I’m a writer but writing for me feels like I’m opening a vein. It’s difficult,painful and the thing I am good at. I wish I was a biologist

  10. I feel the same way! And I love love LOVE that you wrote a note to your fourth grade teacher after being sure you’d seen her crying. I totally love that about you. I’m sure she still remembers it.

  11. Yes. Yes to this and to YOU! I am thin-skinned, too – that’s tough for anyone I suppose, but for writers looking for publication…UGH, it nearly breaks me. Still and every time. So much so that I hardly remember the “Yes’s” What’s with that? ANYway, the good news is, writing isn’t about publishing, it’s about writing. And as you say, it’s breathing. Much love to you and your continued adventure – Ms

  12. Oh Tamara…. (I think I always start my comments that way, don’t I? But that is literally what I am saying under my breath as I write).

    You KNOW I love this. You have evolved into this writing MACHINE and photographer on FIRE. You are such an incredible mama with a passion that is FELT in every word. I love this post so much. SO much.

    I laughed, I sighed, I nodded, and I sighed again.

    You are certainly exactly where you need to be, and your steps all along the way have brought you here.

    “I find myself changing so much that I can cringe at the immaturity of a draft I started only a month ago. You have to do it in order to learn it. Then it grows.” <— YES. I soooo get this. I want to delete SO many of the pieces I've written from years ago, even months ago. But it's all an evolution, a process, and I love how you put it here. <3

  13. I’ve told the story about how I became a writer. It was probably destiny as I never really wanted to and it still happened.

    In high school, one of our friends got a summer job as a garbage collector. The rest of us kids were very jealous!

  14. PS: I’ve long liked the saying (and it has universal application) “If you say you want to be a writer and you are not writing then what you want is not to be a writer.”

  15. I love reading your writings! I never knew how much I enjoyed writing until I started this blog. I really enjoy writing by hand though. My thoughts come quicker to me and the feeling of just getting it all out on paper is somehow, fulfilling! I would be so stressed with the house renovation – you have a great attitude!

  16. I really do love when I visit and read here. Your posts are wonderful. I love your “you know you’re a writer” list and laughed out loud at a few because yeah, I do those, too.
    I definitely think this blogging thing changes many of us in many ways. Good ways.
    Good luck with the hole in the house. I think I’d lose my mind with that!

  17. I didn’t think of myself as a writer until a few years ago. I’ve always liked writing, and I was always pretty good at it, but calling myself “a writer…” That took time. I wanted to be a truck driver when I was little – I could have driven you around while you emptied the trash cans!

  18. You’re a born writer, my dear. I tip my hat to you, both for the quality and quantity of your work. I write because it’s what I’m on earth to do (well, one of the main things). I’m a different person when I write. It gives me a sense of completion and of accomplishment, and well… it makes me happy!

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