A New Home
In her iconic book, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott writes,
I want people to who write to crash or dive below the surface, where life is so cold and confusing and hard to see. I want writers to plunge through all the holes–the holes we try to fill up with all the props. In those holes and in the spaces around them exist all sorts of possiblity, including the chance to see who we are and to glimpse the mystery.
The first time I read this, I nodded the Oh-My-Gosh-every-word-of-this-resonates-with-me-Nod and starred the passage. Then, with a purposeful stroke, I bracketed the words with my black uni-ball pen. And then I dog-earred the page for good measure. I flagged it because that’s me. Too often, it’s easier to use the props. I often stay on the surface, catching glimpses of the mystery raging in the currents below.
With dramatic flourish, I want to knock all the props over and leave them in a shambled pile. When I allow myself and my words to delve into that rumpled heap of experience and emotion, well, that’s when I tap into the Universal Grit. And that’s when the good shit starts to happen.
Welcome to my new home, Universal Grit.
I find that my deepest and most resonant connections are those I share with people who are willing to delve into the nitty and the gritty of their lives. These universal threads link us all together and help me feel normal. It helps me to know that we all experience highs, lows and in-the-middles.
I started my first blog, Musings de Mommy four years ago. When I started writing there, I focused on experiences with my children (who were, when I started writing, 4 and 1.) I wrote in hopes to let other mothers know that the experience of motherhood is full of every emotion–I remember feeling isolated when my unpleasant and unexpected emotions smacked up against my image of motherhood–and my preconceived ideas of what I should feel and when.
As my children grew and matured, I continued to write about them, but my writing shifted to the broader expanses of my life. My observations. My thoughts. My challenges. My efforts to live presently. The ups. The downs. The middles. The grit. I knew I needed a bigger canvas in which to express myself. That’s when I created this blog.
While pondering the new name for my new blog, I read a blog post by Dani Shapiro titled On Exposure. In this post, Dani writes about her memoirs, and about her readers’ perceptions that she may feel exposed after “putting herself out there”. This same fear–a fear of overexposure–has thwarted my writing (and my life) many times. I commented on Dani’s post saying:
I find that the grittiest pieces I write resonate the most with others. There are parts I’d like to share, but I don’t, because I’m afraid. Because my story has always been too shrouded in privacy and fear. Each day I get better. But I must continue to circumvent the fear to be able to write it well.
Dani, in her wisdom, replied,
Sometimes what we think of as the “grittiest” may well be the most universal.
Thus, Universal Grit was born. A place where I can explore the gritty and the beauty of living. (I’ll continue, by the way, to be a mom who muses.) I believe that sharing my grittiest parts levels life. It helps us all quiet that little perfectionist asshole in our minds. We can all then say,