Where to begin?

You know, I thought I already had. That whole introduction I wrote last time about my muse, Thalia? Yeah, that was supposed to be the beginning. Seemed like a pretty solid beginning to me, too. The prose that should’ve launched a thousand blog posts. And then…crickets.

Feeling duped? Yeah well, you and me both, my friend, you and me both.

It turns out that, in spite of my excitement and enthusiasm, that first post was more of a stopping point than a beginning. And it has taken me the better part of two weeks to understand why.

While it’s Thalia who inspires me to want to do this, and it’s my family and friends who support me as I do this, I turn to another source of inspiration to help me actually do this: her name is Glinda.

Glinda the Good Witch
Glinda the Good Witch, The Wizard of Oz

Yes, that Glinda.

Cue the tornado, Toto, we’re going to Oz.

The Wizard of Oz is both a great and problematic movie for a slew of reasons, none of which I’ll discuss here because this ain’t film class, it’s the stream of consciousness of a newly tongue-untied writer trying to explain how she found her way out of the desert. Although, if I’m honest, that should be dessert. A lot of cookies and chocolate were harmed in this process. Don’t judge.

Anyhoo, I was in a strange land of junk food and take-out and had no idea how to make my way back to my keyboard. I was at a loss for words. Those who really know me will find that idea both tantalizing and impossible to believe. I may have a tendency to talk a lot. Conversation comes easily to this shameless extrovert. But writing is proving to be very different.

Now, the good thing about my desert/dessert version of Oz is that, like Dorothy and her friends, I was never alone there. I had oodles of support, some of it in the form of cookies. I also got a lot of advice:

  • Not publishing doesn’t make your work better.
  • Just write, don’t worry about edits.
  • Enjoy it. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself.
  • The best essay is a finished essay.
  • Perfect is the enemy of the good. (No, I’m not friends with Voltaire)

You can see that I certainly didn’t lack for encouragement. But what I did lack, dear Reader, was courage. I was the cowardly lion, tentatively tapping at the keys, never finishing anything I started, holding my tail and jumping every time I thought about not having published that day. I was afraid; afraid that I’m bad at this; afraid to be judged; even worse, afraid no one will even read it.

And all this time you thought I’d cast myself as Dorothy! You’ve got to love a good plot twist.

Eventually it occurred to me that having already posted an article, I’ve proven that I have courage in my arsenal. Aha! The problem isn’t chutzpah, it’s perspective. I’m looking too far ahead, anticipating a blog full of posts when all I need is one: the next one. I can only walk to the Emerald City one yellow brick at a time.

Enter Glinda. In the film, she gives a confused and directionally challenged Dorothy the single most important piece of advice that anyone can bestow when she tells her, “It’s always best to start at the beginning.”

At long last, light has dawned, and I didn’t even have to drop a house on anyone to realize that, aside from needing to put down the cookies and get back to my workout schedule, all I must do is start again, every time, and enjoy the trip with the friends I’ll make along the way. Oh, and maybe I’ll keep an oil can and a bucket of water on hand, just in case.

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