I started blogging here because I am a writer with a newly published book, (Have to plug it! Women Who Think Too Much, available at LuLu and Amazon) but that’s not what I’ve learned on WordPress.com. I already knew that fact. It’s also not why I stay.
Let me begin at the start but I don’t promise to continue in chronological order.
I used to blog on Google and I enjoyed it. Until I received a hate letter concerning one of my articles I had written about my mother, a letter from a beloved family member.
Delete, unsubscribe, run away, lock every window on the internet where my writing was residing, that’s what I did and I’m not proud of my reaction. No excuses, but it hurt and I was shocked and I was stunned. Ok, I need to take a deep breath. Whew.
That was over two years ago.
Since then I have held my writing close, sharing only with family I trusted and my writer’s group whom I totally trusted, my Pineapple Girls. My girls are invaluable, far beyond the one night a week when we meet and way past the exquisite meals we cook for each other. (The meals may be a minus since I’ve gained twenty pounds!) Another plus to belonging to a writer’s group? I have written more creative essays and poems since we started meeting about three years ago, than I have in the last twenty-years. I also finished a book.
I struggled and whined all the way through editing Women Who Think Too Much, but my muse insisted I finish before I could move on and my muse is a very powerful entity. She obviously expressed herself to my girls.
These writing friends held my hand, dragged me past the hardest spots with words of encouragement, dried my tears and made me laugh, edited, read and challenged me until my book was finished.
My editor, whom I met in the writer’s group, is my best friend and my surrogate sister.
She spent thousands of hours guiding me and editing my endlessly updated manuscripts. She even learned how to format a manuscript on Smashwords.com, for me.
For months, she lived and she breathed my book, never pushing changes on me, just suggesting. I rejected hours and hours of her changes and she was okay with that. She is a one in a million editor. Still, many of her suggestions worked, because she could detach from the emotions and focus on structure and grammar so much better than I could. In the end though, I think she was so deep into my book that we were equal on the emotional involvement.
(If you want to know any more about what I went through finishing a twenty-year old project read, “Hi Mom, This Is Me” on my blog.)
Anyway, back to what I have learned while visiting your blogs here at WordPress.com.
Today I learned what the word Lepidopterologist (Noun) means. I am a butterfly lover and a collector of butterfly pictures but when I saw this word on Theresa’s blog, dba Third Hand Art, Butterfly In Clover, I just had to stop and look it up.
Lepidopterist: Butterfly collector, bug-hunter, bugologist, entomologist, a zoologist who studies insects, the branch of zoology dealing with butterflies and moths. WOW!
I have come upon other unfamiliar words here, but what I’ve learned is far beyond new words.
I’ve learned that writers, artists and creative people are as a whole, generous with their praise and liberal with their encouragement. Many writers are as crazy as I am, but they are proud of it and accept it as integral to who they are and they use it to their advantage in their intensely moving writing.
You make me think, you make me laugh and you make me cry. Thank you.
The stuff I have hidden for twenty-years in draws or in computer files marked “Personal, destroy if I’m dead.” can now come out of the dark and play with others on WordPress.com.
I want to thank each and every blogger I have visited; you have each touched my writer’s spirit in one way or another. Thank you for not hiding as I did. Thank you for sharing your joy, your success, your pain and your disasters.
Thank you for commenting on my stuff when you are no doubt as pressed for time as I am, thank you for noticing what I post, whether it’s noontime or midnight.
I have learned that while I’m sometimes different in my approach to writing, I am not unique. My writing is not outrageous, as most people in my family have told me. (Family members who have encouraged me, you know who you are.) Sometimes my writing is raw, but it is always honest and sometimes it’s funny. That’s me and that is okay. You taught me that.
There are so many incredible writers and creators on WordPress.com that my only regret is that I don’t have enough time to read every line you write, to absorb every picture you post.
I have learned that there is a place where I can belong, a niche made just for me, and it is here, with you. I came to try to build a platform and I stayed to share who I am, to meet you and to enjoy your work.
Thank you, Jeanne Marie
PS We call ourselves girls because when we are together we are girls, laughing and playing.