Back to the Beginning

I started this blog anonymously.

It was partly by necessity, as I had a job that was sensitive in a town that was small for an employer that was paranoid.  Internal social media rules intersected with federal privacy laws to create a collision that restricted outward creative freedom.  This was absolutely okay with me as I had no intention of writing about my work, but just to be careful, I wouldn't write as myself.

What I didn't realize was how completely freeing that process would be.

Sure, I only had four readers.  Okay, maybe two readers.  But I could write how I wanted and when.  There were no restrictions, rules or constraints.

I could write about anything.

I could write about anyone.

But then a terrible thing happened.  I became weak and in my weakness, I became needy.  I became a writer that wanted readers.  And if I'm honest, I suppose I wanted readers that would like my work, say nice things, and generally boost my poor writer's ego.

Well, as they say, pride goeth before a fall.

Because what did I do? I posted my unspoiled, pristine, anonymous blog to Facebook.  A blog set up intentionally with no comments so as not to be influenced, positively or negatively, by any thoughts or opinions other than my own was now on social media.

Outed.  Exposed. Vulnerable.

At first, it was glorious.  I basked in the positive feedback, ignored anything that might seem trite.  I felt validated.  Euphoric.  Suddenly, someone out there was reading what I wrote.  They liked it.  They thought I could actually write.

It was later, much later that I noticed the change.  Something had crept in, something insidious that hadn't been there before.  At first I thought I was just stymied because of grief.  This year has been loaded with emotion and change.  It's been an evolution for me as an individual, but also as a writer.  I'm trying to write other things, not just this blog anymore.

But that wasn't it.  Those internal revolutions, though sometimes painful and almost always unwieldy, are still positive things.  This was not.  Even after the praise, something malignant had taken root and was blocking me.

It was censorship.  And I couldn't write.

Don't get me wrong.  Every writer, if they are to be published and paid, will someday deal with this.  People they know will read what they've written.  They might see themselves, directly or indirectly.  Shadows and ghosts.  Mirrors and likenesses.

As writers, we have to be fearless.  And maybe we have to be willing to adamantly, bravely, even belligerently, defend our work.  Our observations.  The written manifestations of how we notice and interpret our world and the people in it.

But this blog was anonymous.  It was my playground, a fun place for me to romp, revel, and risk.  I forgot that in my vanity, my neediness.  And in doing so, I skinned my knees.

I've got a couple of scabs, but I've learned the key is not to pick at them.  Even now, the temptation whispers softly for me to post this one, this last one, so people will know it won't be there anymore.  Not after this one.  This last one.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

I never appreciated that philosophical question until now.

If words are written but never read, are the stories still told?

I think so.  I hope so.

Regardless, this blog is anonymous.

I can write about anyone.  And anything.

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