Santa Has Some Talented Elves

bookI know, friends. I KNOW. It’s been a while. In fairness to me, I did warn you (see I Might Be the Most Annoying Person in the Room) that I tend to start things and not finish them. But, and also in fairness to me, how does one know when a blog is “finished?”

Really, my sabbatical is the fault of Santa Claus. For Christmas, I received from him a book of the Best Short Stories in America 2014. I can only assume that Joyce Carol Oates and T.C. Boyle are the noms de plume of some of Santa’s especially literary elves. And I have to admit those elves wrote some fantastic stories. What really got me, though, was the Foreword, in which a mean lady wrote the following: “But what happens if and when writers begin to outnumber readers? What happens when writing becomes more attractive than reading? Will we become – or are we already – a nation of performers with no audience?”

I gasped a little over that. Because, as you may remember, the idea that there are a million people already doing what I’m doing (and way better) is enough to keep me from doing it. This was really, seriously, kind of embarrassing. I mean, this lady who was writing about the BEST short stories in AMERICA was telling me to consider shutting it. To get out there and read instead of performing for my non-audience.[1] So, you know, I panicked and pretended that I never even started a blog. Nothing for you to see here! I am not even joking when I tell you that if you google “mommy blog” you get 34,600,000 hits. That is a suspicious number for several reasons (it’s awfully round, for example) but mostly it is horrifying. How could there ever be enough readers for all this crap? I felt stupid for adding to all the chatter. This lady obviously knows what she’s talking about, which is why she wrote the Foreword to this Important Book.

So, as I tend to do in these situations, I lost all motivation. I am the kind of person who could decide with great determination and much serious talk and preparation to walk across the state of North Carolina and then be dissuaded during the first hour by too many swarms of gnats. And, as time went on and on, I knew with certainty that I could not explain my absence in a post detailing how I had been thinking thoughts so important that I just could not even write them down. Because, you know, that didn’t actually happen. I just felt like the thing to do was go to work, continue to collect my paycheck and enjoy it. Which I did. So there’s that.

What is so hard about being a writer on a break, though, is that one’s legions of fans clamor constantly for one’s return.[2]  So because the wind blew funny this morning or my jeans weren’t as tight as they have been in the past, or because I actually made something last night with my sewing machine (always fuels the creative fires), I felt like today was the day to make my joyful return. No doubt you felt it in the air today, too, that feeling that something exciting was going to happen to you. And now it has! I’m back! Thank you, thank you (bows graciously to empty theater)!

I just don’t really care about the mean lady anymore. It’s fine that she wrote what she did, and actually I think I agree with her. People really, REALLY should read more.[3] But also I happen to like going back and reading what I wrote, and if the result is that this blog has an audience of one then that works for me. Apparently the lesson here, pearls, is that I am doing this my way. And the whole POINT of this blog, which is number 34,600,601, is that doing it my way is perfectly, perfectly fine. Pearl on!

 [1] I did read, by the way. My favorite book read during my hiatus was The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, so pick it up. Also, the mean lady wasn’t even talking about blogs. She was talking about actual books so that made me feel even more dumber.

[2] We were on a BREAK. Haha. But seriously. It was four fans, you know who you are. And “clamoring constantly” is probably an overstatement. “Mentioned in passing” is probably more accurate. Whatevs.

[3] Exhibit A: DONALD TRUMP. If people don’t start reading more he could be our next president.

About Betsy Tucker

I am a 40-something mom, wife, reluctant lawyer and occasional farmer with a desire to convince everybody in the world to just be who they are and let everyone else do the same. We’ll see how it goes.

4 comments on “Santa Has Some Talented Elves

  1. “Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It is a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got!” -steven pressfield

  2. Oh my, can’t even tell you how much this gave a lift to my afternoon (ref: ‘suspicious number’ sentence). I laughed out loud in the Highland Park Public Library. Where, for the record, I’m not even reading. Glad you’re back.

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