It’s been eight years since I said I’d return eventually.
What have I been up to these years of radio silence?–you ask.
Oh–I reply–I gave up freelancing, moved to Minnesota, got a real job, acquired a certified case of anxiety disorder, suffered burnout, took a sabbatical, clawed my way out of depression, and emerged with a new mindset.
And what of my writing, the subject of this long-ignored blog?
The fire fizzled out after my move and smoldered for the better part of a decade. Work and stress played a part, but the old antagonists perfectionism and self-doubt–which played so prominent a role in the period of the Barely Readable blog (2008-11)–blasted it regularly with chemical flame-retardants and dirty looks. Writing became wrapped up with my ego, and that sapped the joy out of it. It became a chore. I alternated between periods of self-loathing for my lack of progress and even longer periods of not thinking about it at all. Quite recently it seemed the best option was to give up the dream entirely.
Instead I decided to pick the pencil back up again. I decided to rediscover the joy of writing, to let go of old motivations and embrace writing for its intrinsic pleasure and satisfaction, not for a predicted future success that would silence the middle school bullies still active in my head. I’m a bit rusty. But it’s coming back. The fears still linger, but I’m more mature today. The challenges that waylaid me last time got nothin’ on me now. This time around, instead of a Barely Readable tale of reversals and projects that never saw completion, expect a slightly dull yarn of persistence, resilience, intestinal fortitude and a “The End” at the end.
As I re-embark on this old path, it’s only natural to reevaluate the novels of the Barely Readable period. How do they hold up? Not so good. The Rub is rubbish. The Senator’s Pants is a steaming pile that’ll fill your pants. All traces of them must be destroyed. As for The Long and Short of It–eh, a bit long.
Though the novels belong as fuel for a dumpster fire, the Barely Readable period itself was one of incredible growth. The many hours spent butt-in-seat, the ups and downs, the agony and passion and despair and exhilaration, transformed my writing. With each project I accomplished things I couldn’t have done in the previous one. Today I can trace the development of my writing through each of those novels right up to my current work-in-progress. From where I sit, it was all time well spent.
Consider this the postscript to the Barely Readable blog.
P.P.S. My new blog starts here: Strings.