The Afterglow of Being Freshly Pressed


Just two weeks ago I had 2 people following my blog. There was pretty much nothing on it (not that I have a good deal more now), and as it can be today, it could conservatively be described as unattractive. Now there are a little over 200 followers of “I Should Really Write More,” and I know I don’t have that many parents, so there are actually people (that didn’t produce me) who have willingly opted to be notified when I write something (it likely won’t be often).

I would just like to say to anyone that has gotten an e-mail with this particular post in the body, and who has managed to read up until this point: I feel really close to you right now.

After a year and half away from the keyboard (and before that, many many more years), I finally got irritated enough with myself, and my tired, uncreative excuses, that I made a blog (baby steps, self).  I mean, trust me, I definitely gave myself credit for every and all status updates, tweets, and even a couple of clever text messages, but even at my laziest I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror and declare, “yep, there’s a writer.” Maybe if I squinted.

I imagine I’m one of millions on WordPress and other blogging platforms across the Internetverse that feels this way. We are in a well attended club, us non-writing writers. The one that’s full of folks who have always felt writing was a horizon to be traveled towards, a comfort in a perhaps underwhelming life, a nice idea that existed strictly as an abstract concept: that future day when it all comes together, the skeletal ideas flesh out, and success sweeps in like a gust of warm air after a blizzard. Finally, a body of work, a point of pride, sweet self-worth. But of course the whole getting from A-to-B thing is a real bitch. So, eff that. I am the first to eff that. In fact, full-on-fuck that all the way from A-to-Z. When did I get so shy of hard work and so shortleashed by failure? That may seem like a rhetorical question but I think the answer resides in my early-20s. Unfortunately, self-awareness only takes you so far. If I got karmic brownie points for all the self-analysis I’ve devoted my brain to, I’d probably be able to literally levitate. And yet, here I am, somewhat compulsively checking my word count just to feel the success of a page NOT BEING BLANK. Even opening up a new document would arouse the first twinge of success on some days, sorta like when I would drive all the way to the gym, do a tour of the parking lot, and then just go home. That’s a true story, World, by the way.

The day I got the e-mail from WordPress telling me my essay “50 Shades of Prague” was going to be featured on their Freshly Pressed list, I wondered if it was a scam. Not just because my self-confidence was in the shitter, but also because of my having grown up in a time when taking an unsolicited e-mailer at their word was to send over your bank account information to the Prince of Such-and-such country who needed help transferring Big Money into American Dollars. What did this fake bot-person want from me? A password? My SSN? To give my computer a virus for shits and giggles? Of course the answer was none of the above. I’m not radically untrusting, and my instinct to give serious eyebrows to anyone I don’t know who shoots me an e-mail isn’t all that unforgiving. I’m not exactly standing on the porch of my Yahoo account with a metaphorical shotgun telling strangers to get off my lawn, but I think we’ve all (perhaps subconsciously) refined our filter for what qualifies as actual mail and what ends up designated to spam exile. So, I read the e-mail twice, three times, once more, and finally dissolved my jaded suspicions into exclamation point overdrive.

Sweet, sweet validation.

Some readers may feel my reaction to this news might be somewhat overblown. “Big deal,” they think, “what’s so great about being Freshly Pressed?” The answer is: suck it. I’m basking, people. Every new “like” and each recruited follower chirps a delightful notification on my phone and I effing bask. “This is no reason to create art: for the rudimentary, shallow benefit of attention!” Suck it again. First of all, I’m an only child, so attention is still up there with currency. Secondly, my atrophied sense of capability and sedentary creativity needed a quality smacking-around/shoulder-shaking combo wake-up call. This victory, while trivial to some, is mighty delicious to this self-starved Mayor of Lazytown.

I have fairly little regard for this particular blog post. I hardly feel compelled to even proofread it. I’m sure it’s riddled with conflicting tenses, misspellings, flip-flopping tones, from semi-cheeky to pseudo-righteous, and maybe even worst of all, boring. But before it seems as though I’ve jumped into the co-dependent deep-end of self-pity territory (aka Fishing for Compliments Land), let me qualify this apathy with the bigger point, which is that despite these flaws, I’m still writing the damn thing, and sweet Lord if that’s not a mondo-win for me these days. And actually post it? Publically? Rent some confetti cannons and unlock the liquor cabinet.

Ideally the momentum from this experience will inject me with enough energy to write regularly. To what end? What’s the ultimate goal? Amount of ideas I have: zero. But, however aimless as my essaying/musing/writing may be, it will hopefully at least yield one result: the satisfaction of knowing that if I put the words on paper, maybe, just maybe, someone will read them.

Days of writing: 1 and counting.