WHY THE 365 PROJECT?
I’ve written my whole life, if not on paper, certainly I’ve maintained a ticker-tape life dialog transcription in my head for the better part of 35 years. I’m that girl – the one that can recite things you’ve told me 20 years ago and throw it back at you. I hold onto everything – the photographer who told me to lick my lips when I was 6 years old because it would look better in the photo; the time my aunt called me a little bitch around Thanksgiving dinner when I was 14, and time time my first boss told me to drop the word, ‘like,’ if I ever hoped to have a career in journalism. All of these memories are lodged, with such deep roots in my head that it gets crowded and sometimes it causes steam to come out of my ears and through the tops of my head. This is what artists call going insane.
It’s time I let the insanity out of my head.
As my own boss, I’ve been too lenient on myself for too long, letting myself prioritize laundry and clean floors over novel editing. It’s not just about finding the time to write, it’s making it a priority. Above earning more money. Above dishes and a clean floor. I’ve used the excuse of ‘my life is in a transition’ just long enough to realize that life is in a constant state of flux. But as my mother used to say, “If you want to take a shit, you have to take your pants off.”
I’ve challenged myself with this writing project for a year and am using my blog as the medium. The daily commitment will force me to finish a writing piece every day, ushering my stories out of their perpetual existence in my literary purgatory.
But it wasn’t enough of an artistic endeavor to write everyday, I wanted to group these pages from my life into a theme.
As virtual members of imaginary clubs, we are all linked by the life experiences that bind us. Life Clubs are the imaginary threads of how we are connected to one another.
I’ve lived through 4 decades of stories – joining many clubs along the way. The Immigrant Club, The Tattoo Club, The I Lived through 9/11 Club. The Marriage Club, The Parenthood Club, The Divorce Club. The Co-Parenting Club, The I’m Dating a Clown Club, The My Modern Family Trumps Yours Club. We have all inadvertently joined a club, and until your official initiation, you can’t understand what it’s truly like to be a member.
In addition to the obvious “become a better writer,” I hope this consistent exercise will help me:
- Become a better writer – physically become more effective at sitting down and prioritizing writing. See this through the end, no matter how grueling, annoying or failing it may seem. One year without excuses!
- Purge the floating stories from my mind and set them off on a sea of words, letting go, and ultimately alleviating panic attacks.
- Learn to forgive myself. Free myself from my own judgement.
- Stretch my memory muscle. As I embark on this memoir-writing project, tapping into distant memories, I want to enhance those detail-grabbing skills from the distant past.
- Finish something – in addition to dozens of scattered, incomplete notebooks and journals, I have two books that sit unfinished. While the ultimate goal is to have a comprehensive piece of work, I hope that this exercise helps me finish my other abandoned writing projects.
- Reestablish an online voice and expand my portfolio
- Own it. Value my words, my writing, and myself as a writer. Give myself one year without doubt. For 365 days, I will think, “I will sell this house today.”