Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Inspire HoCoHouseHon

My brilliant mother has undertaken an important task - namely, writing a blog post each morning.

I have to admit, I'm kind of in awe of her.

My mom is and always has been a creative person, drawn to crafting and home decorating, music and poetry, introspective journaling and brain mapping. She is a writer - so much so that one of my standard (but not too dull, I hope) gifts for her has been a pretty notebook and fancy pens. I always thought of her as having something interesting to say, either about her state of mind or about the world she inhabits. I'm grateful to her for teaching me the importance of being honest through writing and through art.

If you read my blog, you probably read my mother's, too, "Village Green/Town Squared." Through it, she has significantly developed her writing skills, while at the same time struggling with and raising questions about our community. Knowing my mother to be a mostly shy person, I am so proud to see her create her voice - not just as a blogger, but as someone to notice, someone to respect, someone to laugh with and cry with. When I think about what it means to live in Columbia, I think about my mom: cool, compelling, open, with a sense of integrity in the life we live here.

Mom went through a particularly nasty election a few months ago in her village of Oakland Mills. To me, Mom would have been a great voice for change in a town which should be growing and adapting to the challenges of modern life. Unfortunately, being a voice for change in Columbia is (sometimes) like banging your head against a wall; there are too many entrenched ideas, too many people hoping that Columbia will stay frozen in the honey amber tree-sap of cultural and structural immobility. Oakland Mills has its fair share of those citizens - people so afraid of change that they don't see, for example, that cutting down a few (a lot of them, dead) trees in Symphony Woods could be the beginning of something wonderful, a Columbia-that-will-be, rather than a Columbia-that-was.

In response to that unpleasant election process, and compelled by the issues of living in Columbia, my mom started writing a blog post each morning. Seeing my mom pull strength out of defeat has inspired me and, in some ways, made me reconsider my role as a blogger in HoCo.

My mom showed me how to heal.

For so long, I have put my writing aside. Though I didn't want it to, the fact that I will not be attending graduate school this fall made a dent in my pride - and in my confidence. My mother might have felt rejected by her home village; I felt incredibly stupid that I had tried to get into a program to which I apparently was unsuited. Writing, then, got harder and harder as I imagined the disapproval of JHU - somehow I saw the impassive faces of fiction professors every time I took up a pen or the iPad. As I was moping away, though, my mother turned a disappointment into something more; what was, at first, bitter, became a catalyst for a new and constant creativity.

Pretty cool. And now, it's my turn.

I'm going to try to write here more often. What I type might not be that interesting every day - frankly, a little less seriousness and a little more informality might do me good. I'm also writing at Buster and Ellie, a site for and by people in their 20s. I'm going to submit stories and poems to contests and see where that leads me.

I've been sticking my head in the sand for too long, and it's depressing and a big waste of time.

So today is a new day - as is every day - and here I am, writing. If I feel a little foolish sometimes, or if the only topic I can think to write about is picking out paint colors or cooking Swiss chard, I'm going to keep on keeping on with a big, "so what?" to the universe.

Finally, if you haven't checked out "Village Green/Town Squared," I suggest you do - the writer is a pretty awesome lady who might just inspire you the way she inspires me.

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