Thank you, Daily Post, for the prompt:
Explain why you chose your blog title and what it means to you.
I have never been very impressed with my hands. They have short fingers that can’t span a piano octave. The nails are perpetually short because I bite my nails while I muddle through lengthy thought processes. There are scars across the backs from a cat claws, cooking disasters and other accidents. They’re not very pretty. But they do make nice writing surfaces.
I doodle on them for two reasons:
1. Because I’m bored and there’s a well of entertainment in turning your hands into artwork: making the doodle, seeing the doodle for the rest of the day, explaining the doodle to people who don’t know that this is just something you do.
2. Because I need to remind myself of something that seems too thick to keep in my head. I’m not talking about eggs, milk, eyeliner, toothpaste. I’m talking about smile, carpe diem, and run the earth, but watch the sky.
I hang reminders around myself like flags. They flutter, draw my attention, pull me back on track when I’ve forgotten the goals for the day. During college, I wrote You can’t take the sky from me on my wrist so many times that my friends could recognize the pattern of the letters before they were close enough to read it. Mēden Phobou - the Ancient Greek command to NOT panic – got me through finals freshman year. Molōn Labe - the Spartan army’s challenge to “come and take it” – fueled me through most of my senior year. And yes, every time I looked at it, I did feel like storming a few battle fields and robbing the day blind. Forget I came, I saw, I conquered. Those days were I came, I saw, I took it for all it was worth.
It was good to keep these reminders so close. It still is. It’s good to be able to look down and find them waiting to push me toward what I want or need, to be able to change those reminders with the day. It’s good to bounce off something other than the confines of my own skull.
I’m pretty sure I used the same doodle-reminder thought process when I came up with the title for this blog. I don’t even remember thinking of it as title, just something that was going to be at the top of the page every time I started writing something. Like the cryptic Life’s a Fish that I habitually wrote in at the top of my school papers. I think I even considered using Life’s a Fish, then couldn’t figure out how to succinctly explain to an audience how that could mean Life is difficult and wonderful and my siblings are amazing and come up with crazy things around the midnight hour. So I thought a little longer. I thought about what I wanted to type into the browser every day. I thought about what I wanted to bounce off of and what I wanted to be dragged back to when I wandered too far.
We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.
~ Ernest Hemingway
I’d known and liked the quote for several years. As the owner of an English degree, I knew quoting Hemingway couldn’t hurt my street cred. And besides, there were so many reminders that I wanted wrapped up in a few words.
I wanted to be reminded that writing was a craft, not a talent. No one is born with a silver tongue, they learn to form words, learn to order them on a page. As much as I feel natural in the sensation of pen-in-hand, ink-on-paper, I am only as good as the hours I practice. I wanted to tell myself that this was going to ache. Guitar players crack their fingers against the strings before they get the calluses they need to play something beautiful. Athletes tear their muscles apart and rebuild them to run faster, push harder, reach higher. Writing is no different.
I wanted to be reminded that there are no limits. I am an apprentice and when I finish whatever lesson I am on now, I will receive a new one. I will never be a master, will never be able to check off every box and say I’m finished. No matter how good I become, there is always something more to learn. No matter how good I become, there is always another piece of shine to reach for. The sky is not the limit. There is no edge to this universe of sight and sound and sensation. There is no expectation to settle down, just an endless, marvelous journey.
I also wanted it to make people curious and to be easy to remember. I wanted to make it easy for someone to search the internet and turn up at my front door.
And all of that was bound up in a few seconds of thought where the only conscious, coherent statement was, “I just want to write.” (Yes, you should be reading that with a desperate, dramatic breath.)
Welcome to my blog, where I throw things out on whims and build arguments for their inspiration and philosophies later. Isn’t that what apprentices do?