Today is momentous in its own small way. To me, at least.
It was a year ago today that I published my first post. I know I’ve talked about why I write in several places already but I think this is a good occasion to again stop and consider what I get out of the experience.
Silverleaf was a name and a persona I dreamed up over 20 years ago, when I read somewhere that witches and other practitioners of earth-based belief systems did that sort of thing. Made up names, that is. These names were, according to the source, usually composed of an adjective (often a colour) and a noun (usually something found in nature). It was a stormy summer day and as I looked out the window, I saw the leaves in the maples swaying and turning, showing their silver undersides. I felt a connection.
I’ve since discovered I’m too atheist to believe in anything, but Silverleaf floated up into my consciousness when I was trying to think of a pen name. The connection to those swaying trees still exists.
20 years ago. I was still writing then, still dreaming of contributing to Canadian literature in some way. My father wanted me to become a journalist but even then I knew that the competitive, ambitious life was not for me.
I just wanted to be a poet. No, scratch that. No words of judgement. I wanted to be a poet.
Funnily enough, it was my current hair dresser who suggested I start a blog. He was surprised I didn’t already have one and said, “you of all people should have a blog.” I say this is funny because I don’t think we’ve ever talked about writing. He’s from the countryside of Quebec, and has a very heavy accent. At times I have trouble understanding him at all. And though I consider myself bilingual, English is definitely my mother tongue. Since we conduct all our conversations in French, I don’t exactly wax poetic while he’s trimming my hair.
I still don’t know what it was that made him so sure I should be blogging, but am I ever glad he encouraged me. I still thank him every time I get my hair cut.
It took me several weeks of mulling the idea over – and the beauty and inspiration of staring out at the sea – before I acted.
Now, I have a place of my own creation. A place that is all mine. A place where I can be whoever I want – but where I am always and only the very deepest version of me. I could never be anyone else. I like the feeling of freedom I have built for myself, the freedom to not censor and to hide nothing.
I am secure here, secure that I can do and say and be my true self. I can organize the décor, share the pictures and thoughts I want. I can sit down and tell you a story or wax lyrical about the beautiful moon. I can tell you what I would tell a private journal, about my anxieties, my worries, my fears and my hopes.
I have at times gotten very personal. And you have always been supportive and willing to reply to whatever it is I throw out there.
This is also the place I come to grow as a writer. At the beginning, I wrote a lot of poetry and the odd bit of fiction. I wrote some stories that I am still quite proud of, though many remain rough and in need of a good edit. Stories like Lily, Artifact, and Mina’s Coffee, though the latter is really more of a character sketch, continue to languish in my archives, buried under everything else I’ve written since.
As the blog has developed and as I have grown, I have worked more and more on my fiction. This is especially the case since I happened upon the Speakeasy in January. I’ve started adding posts dedicated to photographs, too.
But whether I am sharing photographs, poetry, my innermost secrets or telling a story, there is one thing I have discovered: I love writing. It makes me happy.
I knew this 20 years ago but I forgot it somewhere along the way.
The blog experience has also shown me just how much I love writing for an audience. The community I have found here has brought me laughs, tears, editorial critiques and has reassured me. I have made friends who now mean a lot to me.
People leave the nicest, and sometimes funniest, comments here. They really boost me on a difficult day, and make the bright days even brighter.
Whether I am writing about how zataar can keep the cold darkness of the approaching apocalypse at bay, about my husband’s homemade marmalade, or how the Lowest of the Low’s song Rosy and Grey catapults me back into the wintertime of my sixteenth year, I am fulfilled. I am proud. I have shared a small piece or a large chunk of who I am and I have done it earnestly and honestly.
I think that, for me, is the greatest joy in writing.
I don’t know how this story, the story that is my blog, will end. Round and round and round I go and where I stop, nobody knows.
The ending is a mystery. Or maybe there is no ending. Maybe I will never stop.
I hope I won’t.
Thank you to everyone who has joined me during this year. Your readership, likes and comments are more fulfilling that I can express and, on those difficult days, they are what keeps me writing.