by Maria Schulz
Five years ago this April, I hit “publish” on my very first blog post. This was no small feat, since I had always been afraid to share my writing with the world at large. My high school English teachers were the first to point out that I had a knack for writing, but I didn’t always believe them. I ranked it right up there with my mother telling me I was beautiful. Who believes that?
Mr. Reines once told me: “Maria, you’re a writer! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” Mr. Brodsky was a bit more blunt: “Damn it, Maria, you’re not Emily Dickinson. Stop putting your stuff under the bed. Get it out there!” It only took me a few decades to follow his advice, but I’m glad I finally did.
I’ll admit it, there have been times when the old fear creeps in and I feel paralyzed. What if no one likes it? What if no one (gasp) laughs? What if I send this blog post out there, and absolutely NOTHING HAPPENS? What if I expose myself as a MORON? What if no one buys my book? Will I be able to keep my sense of humor about it? Here are my answers to those burning and idiotic personal questions:
1. No one may like my blog post, but I’m probably sitting here laughing as I write it, so at least it helped bring down my blood pressure for a few minutes
2. Again, someone laughed–me! The rest is gravy
3. What exactly do I think is going to happen? I haven’t gotten my 5 minutes with Oprah yet (except in my imagination) and the Tales From A Hungry Life balloon hasn’t gone live at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade either, but I’ve gotten lots of fun comments from people that are always hilarious and inspiring. So it’s all good.
4. I’m a writer. It would be moronic NOT to have opinions, ideas, or thoughts that I wanted to share. Yes, people have sent me mean comments and said my writing made them want to drink. Those words stung…but then I realized, maybe those comments were more about them then they were about me.
5. My book has been more successful than I had ever imagined, and I have my “platform” to thank for that. Platform is the word writers use to describe their social media presence. It reminds me of when I was in London some years ago and crazy people stood up on platforms and shouted out their ideas on a whole range of subjects in the public square. Yes, that describes my blog pretty well.
6. My sense of humor is still intact, thank you. It’s kind of like a very good friend that I keep by my side to cheer me on when I’m afraid that I can’t continue. It’s also nourished by my real (and not imaginary) friends who drop off gifts of crumb cake after I’ve posted something (Yes, Paula, I mean you).
I never thought I would still be blogging 5 years later. It’s not that I didn’t have something to say…it’s just that I wasn’t sure anyone would respond. For once, I’m happy to be wrong about something. This blog has been the place that I could write about things that meant something to me, and discover that I was not alone.
This is the place where I can write about the past–beloved pets, teachers, friends, and family. I can share the hilarious stories about my brothers (who are the best comedians I’ve ever known) and my well-meaning but very human parents. I could write about celebrities that I admired and those that passed on–Joan Rivers, Robin Williams, and of course, James Garner. I could also write about the present: movies I love, life as a Mom, PTA shenanigans, growing pains with my kids, love and laughter with my husband.
Over the past 5 years, I have experienced a kind of creative freedom that you can’t get just anywhere. When I post, I’m the boss: what I say goes. Of course, that doesn’t stop my boss from sometimes being critical and editing everything I do (what can I say, I’m a pain), but it’s made me a more committed and dedicated writer. I completed my first book, wrote a short story that was included in another book, and have started on my second book, and all of it happened because this blog gave me the confidence to work towards those dreams.
I’ve nurtured my blog through the early days when I wasn’t sure what I was doing and I’ve grown in confidence. If my blog was a child, it would be ready to go off to Kindergarten right about now. There are lots of fun days ahead. I’ll try to enjoy them, because the teen years are right around the corner.
Thanks to everyone who reads, comments, and shares my blog. I’m looking forward to the next five years and all of the new challenges and adventures that blogging will bring. As my niece Katie says, “this is going to be fun!”
As for you, Mr. Brodsky: I still have plenty of stuff piled under that bed. Thanks for encouraging me to share it with the world.
This recipe is outrageously buttery, but that’s what makes it good. Imagine my delight when my pal, Paula, dropped off a hunk of crumb cake for me one morning after she read that week’s blog post. If this is what fan mail is all about, I’m in.
For those of you who need to satisfy your sweet tooth but want to go light, here are 100 healthy ideas from Cooking Light. These good-for-you treats include bourbon-glazed peaches with yogurt, blackberry merlot granita, carrot cake, and many more delicious options.
So, Hungry Lifers: have you ever done something outside of your comfort zone? Did it take you several decades to do it? What’s your favorite dessert recipe–either so bad it’s good or tastes great/good for you too? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!