The jump, the flip, the uncertainty of the landing. Also, the overuse of Olympic metaphors during the past few weeks. The point being, when you post your work on the Internet, you hope for the best, but have idea how it will go down. Also, if you take the metaphor of writing and olympic training too far, it doesn’t work out because you age out of one with puberty and injuries and one you age in to with life experience and shit. You can be a young prodigy at either, but I would love to see a reverse prodigy at gymnastics. Semantics, semantics, senior gymnastics.
Sharing your written words is a jarring shift to a vulnerable place inside yourself. I feel more vulnerable sharing a short story than I do performing on a stage. I’ve been lucky enough to study with the legendary wise man of improv, Craig Cackowski, who is always adamant that when the audience comes in, they are on your side and they commend your bravery for just being up there. That gem applies to writing too — people come to your blogs/to read your manuscripts/poems and admire that you do it, and hope that it’s good. I allow myself more leeway in improv because I’m making a show up on the spot, I have the support of my teamates and I am making art with the ultimate goal of just having fun. Also, “wise man” makes Craig seem way older than he is, but it doesn’t make it less true.
To paraphrase Robert Hass, writing isn’t fun, satisfaction only kicks in having just written. I feel a sweet 30-seconds of satisfaction after writing a blog post before it turns into a bit a fear after pressing publish. I try to ascribe to the philosophy that it’s OK not to love everything you write because not everything can be the best thing you’ve ever written. If you want to get into the semantics, only one thing can be. Semantics, semantics, small picture, dramatic. The big picture is this: when you put your writing on the world’s biggest stage (looking at you, the Internet), you are exposing the thing that might be the most honest reflection of yourself to the connected world. That includes strangers on the Internet, and if you’ve taken the brave step of sharing your work with people you know, it might also include your friends, your family and someone you met the first week of college and never saw again. And that’s absolutely terrifying, and that’s absolutely beautiful.