Now I feel it’s only fair that I should warn you: During the month of November, Beyond the Backyard Blues, aka, Elin Stebbins Waldal, will be posting daily.
The WHY and the WHAT:
Four days ago I was having lunch with my dear friend Lois where she told me she was going to sign up for NaBloPoMo13.
I’m not sure who was more surprised, Lois, or that nagging little voice inside my head, when the words, “I actually have been thinking about signing up too…” flew off my tongue.
In unison our responses collided…
Inner Voice: “Wait, WHAT? You don’t even know how to PROUNOUNCE, NaBloPoMo! What’s more, it sounds like something sexual…”
Lois: “THAT’S WONDERFUL! I Think you should, it will be so much FUN!” which is really code for, I absolutely want to share this with you! An attitude that explains one of the many reasons Lois is among my closest of friends.
If I had to guess at her initial inner thoughts, I bet they were in close competition with my own self-doubt; she knows as well as I do that I am not much of a joiner, she also is aware that I am undisciplined when it comes to blogging. But, and there is always a but when it come to Lois, I bet she was also rooting for me to let go of my self-skepticism and scolding her own for questioning whether or not I was serious.
Then this quasi-magical shift happened.
I told her why (while in the early stages of writing my second book) I thought it might be a good thing to blog daily for a month and this is when Lois, in earnest, began to hard sell me on committing, or in her way, going for it.
A week ago I attended my first writer’s workshop, Dani Shapiro, was the teacher and it was a wonderful experience. Dani’s new book, Still Writing, The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life, had just hit the shelves, and within weeks of its release, joined the best sellers list, a feat I will add, which does not surprise me in the least.
I explained to Lois that I thought it would be interesting to spotlight pieces of wisdom from some of my favorite books over the course of November, using NaBloPoMo as an opportunity to look at this thing called the writing life and how it applies to my experience and living.
Over lunch it all sounded so plausible. It felt within my reach. And even now as I type I feel glimmers of hope that reflecting on the writing life—among other things—during the month of November, will in fact be doable.
You may have caught that I shared earlier that I am writing a second book, so why not join NaNoWriMo? Because it simply would not work. The book I am writing, loosely titled right now, Permission, deals with (surprise, surprise) permission, permission that we both grant and receive, and it also is about grief—and a month would not pay homage in the way I feel each of those subjects requires of me.
Anyway I digress—back to the lunch.
We ate, we swapped stories of our inner lives, we laughed and as has often become our habit, we made agreements about things we want to do differently, or try on, or switch up. We said our goodbyes and as I climbed into the car these words uncoiled in my mind: Maybe I really do want to commit myself to writing a blog post a day.
Lois on the other hand probably went home wondering if I would follow through.
Later that night I sent her an email, the subject header read:
The question is, will I thank you or curse you…
And then the message:
Quite uncharacteristically I have decided to join the fun over at NaBloPoMo, which will mean one of two things by 11/15: I will have you to thank because I discover I am quite prolific OR…I will be surfing the Internet for a Lois look-alike voodoo doll.
Everyone has a friend in their life that drags, pulls or persuades them to do something; in my case, Lois, right now, is that person and I have a hunch in the end I just might be able to thank her.
Assuming you in fact decide to go along for the ride here’s what I intend to write about daily:
And alongside writing, the stuff that’s going on…after all that’s where the gold is, in the hustle and bustle of everyday living. Welcome to the fray of a very cluttered mind, I am grateful for your willingness to be here.
PS: Lois may be found over at, Midlife at the Oasis, where she has been known to review books, champion causes and write about living life to its fullest in the middle.