My Sincere Gratitude + (special bonus!) My Dribble Cup of Fear

@a long, long time ago   Beret Olsen
@2003   Beret Olsen

I have no idea how it happened.

Somehow a lovely story wrangler named Michelle stumbled across my essay about sleeping in the hallway.

I find myself wondering: what are the odds? And I marvel a little at the sheer luck of it. I must have posted my essay on the right day, at the right time, on a topic she found interesting. I must have put just the right tags on it.

But what has been truly astonishing was that all of a sudden a whole community of writers appeared, and I realized that we are not on our own out here in cyberspace at all. I feel immense gratitude that you have taken the time to read my words and relate them to your own lives, and I’ve had the pleasure of reading your work as well.

Thank you.

Unfortunately, the inevitable has happened: I got stage fright. I am TERRIFIED to write anything at all.  I’m not typing away in a room by myself anymore, because now I know I am not alone. Someone might see if I have a crap day or make a poor word choice. Someone might judge my grammar errors as harshly as I would theirs. Mostly kidding.

Perhaps most paralyzing of all is the thought that I might not be able to write something worthwhile again before you all lose interest and wander off. Shoot, what if I never write something I like as well again?

Fortunately, someone showed me this quote from John Steinbeck when he was beginning to write The Grapes of Wrath:

“I don’t know whether I could write a decent book now,” he said. “That is the greatest fear of all. I’m working at it but I can’t tell. Something is poisoned in me. You pages—ten of you—you are the dribble cup—you are the cloth to wipe up the vomit. Maybe I can get these fears and disgusts on you and then burn you up. Then maybe I won’t be so haunted. I have to pretend it’s that way anyhow.”

I include this quote not because I am putting myself in his league, but because fear and writing seem to go hand in hand for many of us, no matter who we are, or what we have previously accomplished. But THAT IS NOT AN EXCUSE TO STOP. Imagine if Steinbeck had caved to his self-doubt and neglected to finish his novel. What a loss.

Thankfully, we don’t have to write The Grapes; that’s already been done. But we DO have something to say and a remarkably friendly forum in which to say it.

Well, it looks like I just wrote a whole post about not being able to write a post. Hope that is out of my system, now; that I can ‘burn these pages’ and move on to other topics. Come to think of it, you might be hoping the same thing. Now go write something awesome.

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Published by

Beret Olsen

Writer, photographer, teacher, and part-time insomniac.

18 thoughts on “My Sincere Gratitude + (special bonus!) My Dribble Cup of Fear”

  1. no fear, no fright, we’ll all just people with Alphabets slogging around our brain trying to come out in a logical, life-changing way.

    by the way, you can’t be too bad of a parent, the cheerios in your header pic aren’t petrified into the sink yet…. 😉

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  2. I found your blog and “daybed” post on Freshly Pressed WordPress page.
    http://wordpress.com/#!/read/fresh.

    The same thing happened to me, I wrote a post and started getting likes, and subscribers and comments from people I didn’t know. Kinda cool. From what I understand some WordPress God picks out posts of the day that are fabulous! So, consider yourself fabulous. I wish they notified the bloggers when they are featured. Here is mine that someone in WordPress Land was worth sharing.
    http://daybydaywiththeaddisongirl.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/have-you-ever-seen-a-dream-walking-well-i-did/

    THEY LIKE US……THEY REALLY LIKE US!!!!
    MO

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  3. I was first intrigued by the picture, and then read your post about not being able to write posts and liked both. Then I realized that I had read your Daybed post and really enjoyed it. But now I am still wondering what the picture is all about. Hints please?

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    1. Not sure if you are asking about the picture or about its connection to the post, so I’ll answer both. It’s a photograph I call ‘Galaxy.’ I took it shortly after my first child was born, when I was trying to see the world through her eyes. It’s really just staring into the bottom of a glass of water. I tossed it in with the post because of my references to the dribble cup, and also because it asks the viewer to see something very familiar from a different perspective. Similarly, I was trying to look at my fear from the outside so that I could analyze it–and ultimately ignore it–rather than feeling it so acutely.

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      1. I thought it looked like a glass of sparkling water but then I couldn’t see the liquid so I was very confused. It’s definitely an unfamiliar view of a familiar object. I like the idea and the metaphor that comes with it =)

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  4. I read your post because I went years as a child without a room, just a corner in a very small living room.
    I chose to follow your blog, and get more brave about my own–IT’S FINE BECAUSE I WRITE INTO A VOID BUT OH MY GOD WHAT IF PEOPLE ACTUALLY START READING IT AND FOLLOW ME AND I TURN OUT TO HAVE NOTHING INTERESTING TO SAY EVER AGAIN????–and so on and so on.
    Because you write so clearly and bravely, even about everyday things, I screwed up the courage to link to my facebook page. Hitting that “share” button makes me a little ill every time, but from one girl in the corner to a girl in the hallway, thank you for hitting a nerve that kicked me into gear.

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  5. Ooh. I know what you mean about hitting the ‘share.’ Speaking of sharing, though, I tried to go read your blog and it seems to have disappeared. Hope you are still bravely writing.

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  6. What a well-written story! I could feel the zipper teeth digging into my legs. You are wise to know you were loved, being relegated to the day bed might have made someone less secure question their place in the scheme of things. Keep writing. I will look for more posts!

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  7. First congratulations on the Daybed success, you are right to feel lucky. I really have to reeavulate my tagging. LOL. anyway, I can relate so much to this post about being afraid to post. If you happen to wander over to my blog, I haven’t written since writing a post about being more responsible with my blog. I want to blame it on the death of a dear friend but bottom line it’s the fear of how people will interpret my writing. I have to add that I’m glad we’re not alone though

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  8. We writers … we have much in common! What are great community to connect with! As my English Comp professors would say …. Keep writing! This is what brings out our hidden skills polishes them up bright when held up within the sun’s light!

    Congratulations … I found the Daybed wonderful, refreshing & thoughtfully reminiscent of an age long gone It was quite sensory & It unearthed my own memories growing up!

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