Write something, DUMMY!

I remember sitting on the beach in Morocco thinking that I needed to write a book. I had no idea what it would be about, but I already had the title: Funny…Peculiar. It was just sitting there in my head…waiting for me to do something with it. I decided to ignore it, but a year or so later I ran across my journal from the Morocco trip, and I reread my book title notes. For a brief minute I considered the book idea again, but it turns out that, in order to write a book, you need to have something to write about.

“Now what?” I thought to myself.

I ended up just ignoring the whole thing for a few more years. No way did I have anything to really say to anyone! Every once in a while though, I’d get a little twinge in my gut (“WRITE SOMETHING, DUMMY!”), but I’m really good at ignoring those twinges…it’s one of my many super powers.

Just under a year ago I went to a birthday party for a friend and struck up a conversation with a gal I’d just met. We talked about our careers for a bit, but eventually ended up with me sharing a bit of my story. I talked about how I ended up in Oregon after moving from South Carolina (without having a clue as to where we’d end up), my crazy ex-husbands, selling comic books and my perspectives on the Northwest after growing up in Hooterville (aka Columbia, S.C.) We chuckled and she pushed for more and more, eventually asking if I’d written any of it down. She seemed stunned when I answered that I hadn’t.

“Well damn it….DO IT!” she prompted. “You HAVE TO!”

“Sure, um…I know I need to…I um, just haven’t gotten around to it. I’ll really try…” I mumbled, not meaning a word of what I was saying.

Over the next few days though, I started feeling that twinge-y feeling in my gut again. This time, however, it gradually morphed into a burning feeling that I couldn’t ignore away, and no amount of Tums or Pepcid helped. I tossed in my sleep, not quite sure what was keeping me awake, and I listlessly wandered around my house, sort of poking stuff…looking for something to read or watch or paint…or DO. Nothing satisfied me, and I felt as though I’d lost something…but what?

In that synchronistic way that the universe has of ganging up on you when you’re missing a road sign you really should have followed, within a few days a friend sent me a link to “a funny writer you’d like”….and I was introduced to the bizarro world of Jenny Lawson. I listened a bit and was stopped in my tracks (even though I was sitting) with the realization that this woman was freaking hilarious…and that she mostly wrote stories about her crazy childhood and the things that happen in her everyday life! (You can DO THAT??? Who knew!)

I looked my new idol up online and found that she was a NY Times bestselling author and that her blog (The Bloggess) is one of the most successful out there. My (achingly slow) brain finally finished percolating and spit out the notion that maybe I, Tammy the non-blogger, could actually write small snippets from MY life and become (wait for it)… TammyInPDX…the blogger! (Yeah, let’s just say that I’m not exactly a rocket scientist…)

Now, while Jenny certainly has nothing to worry about, since last August I’ve managed to write 85 posts (including this one), I’ve had around 4500 post views, and I’ve gotten some really positive feedback. Most importantly, I’ve learned more about myself, the world, and my place in it with every post. At some point I will definitely be pulling all of this together into a book, even if I have to move a cot into Kinko’s to get it printed!

Thanks Jenny…you’re my hero. Thanks Rich for sharing Jenny with me, and thanks to Sarah for telling me to not listen to anyone else…to let my natural voice out and just WRITE.

And mostly, thanks to those of you who’ve read and, even better, have followed me or let me know that you enjoy my writing. To those of you who haven’t…don’t make me come over there!


Check out Doug Savage’s amazing post-it cartoons!



5 responses to “Write something, DUMMY!

  1. I guess it isn’t hard enough for me anymore. I remember listening to a bunch of old geezers (which I can say since I now have my membership card) at the fast-food place I hit often during the recession (when I went from AMEX to 7Eleven) while they accused on member of their party of ‘liking to suffer’ because he would sit in his car in the heat before turning on his air-conditioning.

    I remember hand-written scrawls and writer’s cramp, typing and retyping the typographical errors and being distracted from my copy by the conscious act of typing. They wouldn’t let me take drafting, Drivers’ Ed or typing in High School because the principal said, “Somebody like you will always have somebody to do that stuff for him.” I didn’t exactly hunt and peck, but I had a system that wasn’t too much like touch: I got up to 40 wpm, but it involved hitting the key I wanted based on where each one of my fingers was in relation to that key, so it was error-prone. After a couple of degrees, I got tired of fighting keyboards and hiring out non-thinking entities to interpret my florid script: The French didn’t make it easier (not the embassy, the language). So I went to business school to become my own secretary. Curiously, I’ve had fewer secretarial jobs after being trained.

    But mechanics aside, mechanics aside and mechanics aside, I scarcely write now that I can even dictate to a machine. And while it’s true that I like paper and pen-strokes in three dimensions to fertilise the soil of my creativity (which describes it pretty well), that isn’t what stops me. Really I think it’s filling filing cabinets nobody will read, à la “Finding Forrester” that eventually wore me down.


  2. I love this & I’m so happy you have become “The Blogger!” 🙂
    I was able to relate to this…growing up teachers always told me to focus on writing…I never did ANYTHING other than journal until February of this year. Since starting a blog, I have all these little aspirations and goals that I didn’t even know were capable of brewing in me!
    Cheers to writing 🙂
    Happy to be following your words.


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