Guest Post – Elysha O’Brien and A Blog Of Wet Clay

Elysha O’Brien writes a blog called Wet Clay, and you can find it here. I think she’s a great writer, and she articulated the angst of  we semi-serious writers so well in this piece “Chickened out, grabbed a pen and paper, sat down and I wrote this song”. Elysha often leaves very thoughtful comments on my blog, and after checking out hers, I felt you guys really ought to read this, because I wish I’d written it. 🙂


Chickened out, grabbed a pen and paper, sat down and I wrote this song.

Elysha O’Brien

Last week I called a friend to get perspective on a life decision I am trying to make. Essentially the question is whether I “follow my dream,”  and scrimp and squeak by, or if I return to full time work (which I also thoroughly enjoy) and pay off debt.

Now the problem with option #2 is that I am not superwoman and I know that my dream will take the backseat again as I focus on my responsibilities of family and work.
Is this so wrong?

I honestly have no idea.

On the one hand it is honorable to pay the bills and put food on the table, and work in an honorable career (teaching).

On the other hand, I would like my children to learn that do something relentlessly, in the face of rejection, is worth ten times more than gold.

Here is the dilemma. I am a good teacher and I love teaching. It took me a long time to own this truth. Perhaps I am not the most phenomenal, but I am good. There is a decent career to be had in teaching. I also went to school for upteen years to be a good teacher. But… it is not that “if you could do anything you want, what would it be?” goal. I’m wondering if that statement is a bunch of hogwash and if it derails you into a state of perennial discontent.

I love writing. Well, let me clarify that… writing is excruciating. To find pockets of time to sit and write is difficult with a home to clean, children to bathe, and errands to run. I also cannot write in pockets. I need caves. Giant caves of time that are dark and quiet, when the world disappears and I forget what the sun feels like. Caves that let the demons dance and the creatures come out to drink, because it is the demons and the creatures that make any story mesmerizing and haunting. This is how I write—disconnected, distant, and removed from demands.

In these moments, when I do find time to write, I am never confronted with writers block, instead I am confronted with “Whom the bloody hell cares about what you have to say?”

Image credit: Reproductive

Writing feels profoundly selfish.
It is so hard to sit and write and compose while the voices in your head tell you, “You are crap.” Confronting that beast takes a mighty sword. The pen is so very heavy to pick up.
Self doubt. Ridicule. Fear.
These things trip me up and make me question every story I want to tell.

A character walked into my head today. He is a time traveling bigot. Interesting idea, I think. Whenever we think of time travel, we think of improving the world and state of events. This character has a different goal. He wants to just travel back in time and be a bastard to everyone.

Now, that’s a character, and he probably has a decent story.
But I lack the courage, time, and resolve to trust myself to write his story.
Bastards can be such fun to create.

I think I may be a writer though, because I am constantly composing. I have taken up knitting, and I find it to be a perfect side hobby for me because as I knit, I am free to compose, and write in my head. But to say “I am a writer,” takes a lot more gumption than saying “I am a teacher.” I feel like an imposter in this writing field. In teaching, I can stand my ground.

What is the point of this post? Who bloody knows? Who bloody cares? I guess it’s because I’m trying to sort out which is best… to do what is good, and honorable, or that which is hard and selfish?

I haven’t a clue. All’s I know is, I want to write… AND put food on the table.

“Good luck,” says the clanging voice in my head. “Good friggin luck.”

[Title comes from Barenaked Ladies “What a Good Boy”. You can see the videohere.]

You've heard my thoughts, now throw me yours...