publish a post for your dream reader, and include a new-to-you element in it.
So without further ado, let me get part two of the assignment out of the way post-haste by admitting that, ever since I saw the phrase “Dream Reader,” this has been stuck in my head.
The dreaded earworm strikes again!
Okay (she says, dusting off her hands in a pantomime of competence and efficiency), that’s the “new blog element” checked off. On to conceptualizing the dream reader.
Do I have one?
I mean, just a few nights ago when embarking on this whole Blogging 101 experiment, I wrote:
At the heart of the project is the knowledge that writing in this quasi-public way is creating a discipline of mind and heart that does not always happen in my pen-and-paper diarizing. So even if no one else were to read a word of this, the practice of writing JALC would enrich my life
So, by that logic, my “dream reader” is…. me. I’m not quite sure whether that concept is embarrassingly narcissistic or embarrassingly solipsistic, but it’s kinda embarrassing whichever way you slice it.
And yet. I’m not sure it’s far off the truth, at least for now. I have spent so many years of my life in the game of “measuring up” — or, at least, of attempting to measure up. My habits of turning my intellect towards every situation I’m in, assessing it, trying to suss out “the rules of the game” or the standard I need to follow in order to be acceptable….those patterns and trainings run deep.
And I’ve been working to unwind those patterns for a while now. There’s a reason I stopped singing and performing for so many years: I reached a point after college where I could feel how participation in the performing arts was reaffirming all my skills in masking. How I was rehearsing how best to put on a “false face” rather than being genuinely expressive or creative.
Being back in a choir and writing here on JALC are those first small baby steps of being expressive and creative in an authentic, soul-centered way. But there’s a reason that they’re small baby steps. It’s no coincidence that I “accidentally missed” every musical theatre audition I half had an eye on this summer. My ego is able to handle the experience of singing in a group and working to build ensemble, but that’s about as strong as that particular muscle is right now. In retrospect I know I would not have been able to handle the ego/attractiveness/specialness programming that would have been tripped off had I put myself forward for a theater audition.
And, although I’m more centered in writing from the heart than in performing arts, but I know that centeredness is rooted in my commitment to authenticity. To listening inside for the thing I am called to write about, the piece that won’t let me sleep until I type it out. Say it plain, say it true. And — at least for the moment — to say it without attachment to how many people read or what they think about the piece.
I do worry about the selfishness and/or narcissism of such an approach. As I talked about in my “mini-manifesto,” there is a sincere desire to connect with kindred spirits, quoting Anne of Green Gables. To be of service.
I’m just enough aware of my limitations that my best attempt at being in service — for now — is to stay centered in my own listening. It’s all about the baby steps.
* Some day, years ago, I used to know what “solipsism” was. Those were the days…
Image credit: “Mask of Narcissus” by Kipp Baker. Unaltered. Used under a Creative Commons license. (Retrieved from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mrpixure/3045733955/ )