The real thing

(NEW ORLEANS, La.) — Two days ago, outside a Krystal burger joint at 1:30 a.m., I had an epiphany. I was enjoying the best part of my early morning so far — a chocolate milkshake with whipped topping the consistency of shaving cream — when I was struck with something that at first made me grimace and then, much later, made me smile.

I am afraid of writing.

Maybe this is shocking or maybe it’s obvious to you. I’m not sure which it is for me, but I know I had never put my feelings about writing into such succinct terms before that moment. Now, as I actually put this down into writing, I realize how true it is. Do you ever wonder why I only do about one blog post a week? Or why it takes me so damn long to write you back when you write me a letter or e-mail? (Sorry to Grandma Vi and others who have written me recently, by the way). It’s because I take writing so seriously that it scares me silly. It’s not just that I revere the craft but it’s also my best way of expressing myself. I feel that whatever I write is who I am, and so I’m often afraid to make any move for fear of sounding like an idiot. I weigh myself down with responsibility, and it’s my own fault. I want perfection, and the knowledge that I can’t ever have it paralyzes me. I put writing off so much that many times only the fear of total self loathing makes me get my words down on a page or screen (or napkin or bar coaster or whatever is closest).

But it does always come out, somewhere, somehow, sometime. No matter what, I can’t and won’t give up writing. It’s not just fear of it that keeps me going — it’s love. It was that little, secondary realization that made me smile Friday night as I walked past the throngs of young, drunk white kids and girlie bars on Bourbon Street. I blissfully sipped my milkshake and thought about writing my next post and tried to forgive myself for not being as prolific as so many of my fellow writers and travelers in the blogging world. Somewhere along Canal Street, a bit out of all the tipsy hoopla, I made a promise to me. Or perhaps it was just a reminder of who I am.

“I give myself permission to write,” I told myself silently, echoing something I had scrawled on a cheap map of New Orleans earlier that night when I had gotten the writing itch.

I guess that’s where I leave this post. I give myself permission to write. I promise to write more posts, to keep writing about this trip as long as I can keep it going. Writing, I know, is a big reason why I’m out here in the first place. And I want to thank each person who reads. It means the world to me.

And yes, Grandma and everyone else who has written me recently, I promise to write you back, too, even though, strangely enough, doing so always scares me half to death. Yet I love your mail. Whatever. That’s just my crazy deal. Onward to the next post.

1 comment to The real thing

  • Ellen

    Hola Stina,

    I always look to your blog when I am feeling a little melancholy, nostalgic, restless, and looking for something both surprising and comfortable. I’m glad it’s here to catch up on when I need to. It’s like an old familiar friend (duh) but new and interesting topics, that resonate deeply with me. This was one of those moments, where I’m restlessly sitting at my desk with 30 min left in the work day thinking “I want to waste time on something GOOD on the interwebs” and lo, I check in with you. I love you and I love writing, and I love reading. That is just the truth.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>