I started this blog when I admitted I was a writer, even when I wasn’t actually even actively writing. I needed to give myself a legitimate platform to owe and publish writing practice on. The ‘Why’ of my blog was for my writing. I admit that I forget that sometimes.
In 2012, while attending the Bay To Ocean Writing Conference held on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I happily discovered my writing style was personal essay. That revelation was provided by George Merrill, who taught a class session that day on the subject of personal essays. He made my conference experience memorable. And the validation gave me an extraordinary high.
A couple of years later and I recently have found myself in Doubtland. So today I attended another workshop by Mr. Merrill to bookend and remind me of what I love to do. His exuberance and genuine teaching ability are inspirational. He embodies the good story, that which connects us. The telling process is human validation.
An authentic personal essay is forged from honesty and an intimacy with yourself. The subjects may be ones you have to push yourself to reveal the truths laying under your mental rocks. The process involves an exploration and a fascination in questions we share universally. The self-revelation is inspired and our passionate exploration may lead to a place most would just avoid. As a personal essayist, I have to find my way to these uncomfortable places because that means I’m growing. Because, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. Soon enough.
Stories authenticate our existence. They heal us. They reconnect us. They are exactly what other people want to hear and share when we converse. And they are a reflection of a society at a given time. Historical and necessary, one person at a time. And all the information George, who aptly referred to himself as an elder, provided has given me another round of validation I guess I needed.
Journaling and blogging as a medium were not mentioned and yet are very much a part of my personal writing experience. Through journaling I developed my voice. Because there I speak to myself without being concerned with another audience. Once that voice cemented into my style, the blog then became a place to practice purposefully. The blog format was constructed, and has been abused, as a personal storytelling platform. Yet, this is what makes it compelling. Sometimes my thoughts are spit out and published in a rough form but among the typos and the tense problems, there’s often an image nugget and human truth you can take away and place on your soul shelf. Because I’m am living in real time on my terms, in my words, here and now.
The writing of a personal essay is not an egotistical act. Because I do not write it to call attention to myself but to share an authentic thought with even just one other person without pandering and manipulation. So not an egotist, I even have a hard time asking for people to like my blog because I want people to discover me and like what I do on their terms. That detail needs some therapy though because having an audience does make me really happy. And the bigger the audience, the more I’d probably contribute. It benefits everyone.
Thank you George Merrill for you enthusiasm for your craft. I’m sending you a note and the dollar I shorted you for your book. Looking forward to reading your essays and the inspiration to keep writing until I am an elder too. Hopefully one who can inspire others half as well as you.
And thank you to my readers, to those of you who say you enjoy reading what I write, it means more than I could put proper words together to describe here now.