"Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do - the actual act of writing - turns out to be the best part. It's like discovering that while you thought you need the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward." [Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird, Anchor Books, pg. xxvi]
And so it begins .... NaBloPoMo ... 30 days of continuous posts.
I feel kind of pumped up and ready to begin. I also feel a little tremulous. Remember when there was a big test to take in school? They were usuallystandardized and given throughout the country on the same day, which meant every answer seemed to have more riding on it. Passing on to the next grade, getting into a good college or the secret satisfaction of knowing one ranked in the top 90 percentile of something!
In prepartation for the big exam teachers and administrators, who also had a lot to gain or lose based on the test results, (such as having a job the following year) encouraged students to: Get a good night's sleep before the test. Have three or four #2 pencils, sharpened and ready for action. And go with your first instinct, but don't forget to check your work.
Once prepared, I'd sit at my desk eyes facing forward, heart beating a little faster than normal, leg kicking nervously. At the sound of the teacher's "GO", I would pick up my pencil and read the first question. It was usually at that moment that the room would start to spin and I began to feel faint. Everything I ever knew about the subject at hand went flying out of my head and I had a true sense of imminent doom.
Somehow with one deep breath in, and one deep breath out and trembling hand, I would color in the square to mark the answer to the first question. (I was always a neat color-inner. I wanted no room for error. Even now I cringe at the thought of a computer thinking "B" was the answer of choice because of black mark on the paper, when, in fact, my answer was "C". Just thinking about an erasure smudge on a changed answer makes be break out in a bit of a sweat!) That done, the rest seemed to come, if not easily, at least at a less than panicky pace. Somewhere in the process a rhythm developed ... read the question, color in the square, check the clock for time left, go on to the next question. In most cases I finished the exam but sometimes there were questions left unanswered. Questions that would haunt my memory for years to come. However, once the papers were turned in, there was no turning back and nothing left to do but let fate take its course.
Here I sit, many long years after my last standardized test, fingers poised over the keyboard, feeling a familiar sense of anticipation and angst. Can one be considered a failure if she misses a day (or two or three)? Is my future riding on my success as a daily blogger? I know those questions are silly. I realize the pressure I feel is self-imposed. Still, I worry.
But as I worry, I've already completed one post. That wasn't so bad! I can actually see my chest moving with each breath! Life is good. I think I'll get myself a cup of tea and begin.
One down, only 29 more to go!