Wednesday, October 19, 2011

red dress blue gown black pen

Wednesdays tend to be my quiet-night-at-home eating poorly, watching too much TV, and surfing the internet with nothing to do but tickle my fancy. At some point tonight on Twitter I 'met' Alyssa, the author of Near Normalcy, whose tweets made me giggle and whose blog struck a chord with me. She had posted about NaNoWriMo, the annual novel writing fest/challenge, and stated that she participates because she wants to be a writer ... and then she caught herself: 
I want to be a writer?  How sad.  I used to say "I am a writer."  But writers write.  Right?  Writers write, and I don't write anything these days ... well, let me qualify that.  I write for a living.  Technically.  I am a writer.  But I write marketing copy, admission letters, college catalog copy.  I write other people's words.
And I write this blog.  And I love writing this blog, and part of the reason I started blogging was to find my voice again.  And I plan to keep writing this blog as long as you keep reading it, and maybe even if you don't.  But at the end of the day, the writer I want to be is a fiction writer.  A novelist.  And I haven't been actively writing fiction since...November 2009.
So I'm here to say that I am a writer, and I am going to write.
I could have written every one of those words, though probably not with such clear sentence structure. So I clicked on a link from Alyssa's blog to 'Write on Edge' - a writing site 'where inspiration meets community' and I read that they are about giving people the freedom to say I AM A WRITER AND I WANT TO BE A PUBLISHED WRITER, and that their original name, The Red Dress Club, was inspired by The Bloggess (she's a SUPER STAR, don't ya know, and one of my heros) post about a red dress
“I want, just once, to wear a bright red, strapless ball gown with no apologies. I want to be shocking, and vivid and wear a dress as intensely amazing as the person I so want to be. And the more I thought about it the more I realized how often we deny ourselves that red dress and all the other capricious, ridiculous, overindulgent and silly things that we desperately want but never let ourselves have because they are simply “not sensible”. Things like flying lessons, and ballet shoes, and breaking into spontaneous song, and building a train set, and crawling onto the roof just to see the stars better. Things like cartwheels and learning how to box and painting encouraging words on your body to remind yourself that you’re worth it.”
And all of that just rang for me. One of the reasons my profile picture here and on Twitter is me in my blue ball gown is as a reminder. There are other pictures of me that I like - ones where you can see my eyes more clearly, and some that show that I've lost some weight. Ones where I don't have that weird crease on my face. But my lord I love that ball gown. It's so poofy and vibrant and sparkling and unrestrained despite the corset back. It was such an outlandish, impractical purchase. It's still impractical, taking up half the space under my bed. And I can't part with it. I'll likely never wear it again - any future ball will require it's own dress - but I love the pure indulgence and freedom to dream that it represents. 

I love my job. I love that I do work that makes a difference in our community and that matters to me. I love that I work with people who like and respect me and who want me to succeed at work and in my life. And some part of me - the part that went to Ireland on my own; the part that bought her first ball gown at 40 years of age; the part that sometimes has solo dance parties in my living room and that had ice cream for dinner tonight - wishes I could just throw it all away and write. And write and write and publish and tour and win awards. But mostly write. 

We make choices. We agree to commitments and responsibilities. We spend time building futures that sometimes require delaying dreams now to live bigger ones in the future. And we do what we can to keep those dreams alive until they can take over the dance floor. 

The Bloggess has her red dress. I have my blue ball gown. And we all have black ink wells waiting to be emptied across our screens. And now, I must go dance ... 


  1. Yes, beautiful!! Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm so glad we "met" last night. :)

  2. This was a wonderful post. And so true because all of us have that red dress, or blue ball gown, or something else equally as wonderful (to us) that we're keeping close and secret. Or maybe not so much secret, as hidden. Even if it is just a thought, or an idea.

    I used to be one of those people who said "I want to be a writer." I said it for years. People would ask me what I did for a living - I've been a stay at home mom for most of the last 7 years - and I used to reply "I don't work. But I want to be a writer." Then one day I read an article in the 'Writer's Digest' and I honestly stopped reading and stared at the page blankly for a few minutes before laughing at myself and mentally slapping myself on the back of the head.

    I write every day. I have 4 blogs that I write and maintain and that takes up a great deal of time. I write short stories, poetry, and right now I even have three (what will be) novel length WIP on the go.

    I don't want to be a writer.


    So I've never been published. And I've never won any of the contests that I've entered. That doesn't mean I'm not a writer. It just means I haven't got there yet.

    For me that red or blue dress is my dream of becoming a published author. It's the one thing that no matter what has happened in my life, or will, I'll never let go of. Reading that WD article, and now your blog post, reminds me that no matter how ridiculous a dream may be, it'd be even more silly to give it up.


  3. Thank you all so much for your comments, and your encouragement, and for being a part of this big, wonderful, dream-weaving sisterhood that plays with word. Write on, Sisters, write on.


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