Ninety percent of the time, when I sit down to write for One Sharp Dame, I have no idea what I am going to write about. I open my laptop. I open my browser. I open One Sharp Dame. I click on +NewPost and I start.
It is why I am hard pressed to describe what exactly it is I am doing here; why I rebel so ferociously against the idea of being a brand. I do not like it when people ask me, as one young person did recently, what kind of content I produce.
So, I write about cancer. I write about old movies. I write about books, about my dog, about everything and about nothing. I am pretty sure I have no accurate gauge about the quality of my writing or what people will like. There are plenty of times I have hit the publish button and thought that indeed, this was the one piece of writing that was finally going to take off and make me a STAR!!1!!!.
Then nothing happened. It laid there. People avoided it and me the way an entire family can ignore the presence of a suspicious wet spot on the rug left by the family pooch, knowing the first person to acknowledge it will have to be the one to clean it up.
Other times, I write something, think not much of it, write it because I feel like writing something today and it takes off. I am always surprised. It always feels like it comes out of nowhere and there is always thirty seconds of blind panic when I look at my tracking numbers and I see them going up and up. Oh shit! You mean people are reading this?! People who I am not related to or who are not my best girlfriends and who I have guilted into reading my shit?
That is what happened last week when I dashed off five hundred words on the pink ribbon cottage industry. It got read. A lot. It got shared. A lot. It went around the globe in no time at all. I got emails from women in South Africa and Australia and India. Apparently, I struck a nerve, a big one. What I had to say needed to be said, out loud and in public.
It took awhile for my freak-out to fade and to settle into enjoying events. Soon enough, I passed through enjoyment and became a little annoyed. Thousands of people were reading my one essay and that was all. I wanted to holler out HEY THERE’S SOME GOOD SHIT YOU ARE MISSING (like here and here). I’m to understand this is a fairly common cycle of feeling among writers. It was weird.
I don’t know if I’ll ever write anything else that gets as much attention as No More Pink . I don’t know. I know I have hesitated over my keyboard all week, unsure of how to follow-up. And then I wrote something that no one was interested in reading. The answer I’ve come to is, I don’t follow-up. There is no way to catch that kind of electricity twice. It happens or it doesn’t happen. I can’t control for the unknowable. If you know me, you know how difficult that is for me.
So today, everything is settling back into ‘normal’. I’m working on my book. I’m thinking about lots of things. Bits about compassion, the etymology of the word desolation, subject-object non-duality, zucchini recipes, these are all things rolling around in my head. They may make it on here. They may not.
I never know. I never know and you never know and in the not knowing, we travel together.