• Alison King

708 million, Clementine.

Did you know that there are 708 million google results for "how to start my first ever blog post?" I didn't until about 4 minutes ago, and I'm sure if I were to search again tomorrow that number would be a million or so higher. Some other interesting numbers from the last half-hour also include 1 billion results for "how make a cool blog," 688 million for "blogging for beginners," and the pièce de résistance: almost 9 million results for "how to spell piece de resistance." Welcome to the life of a clandestine writer-at-large, or at the very least, the life of a human-shaped ball of anxiety with too many feelings.

In case you couldn't tell from the mess of unnecessary stats and self-burns you just waded through to get here, I'm a bit of a mess. I've dropped out of higher education twice. My body weight has fluctuated so much in my life so far that I rarely wear clothes two years in a row. I drink anywhere from 4 to 10 shots of espresso in a day, and will gladly substitute coffee for any meal. I also dare to call myself a writer, which in today's pre-post-apocalyptic world is a bit of a bold thing to do.

Writing is something I've done since before I can remember, which really doesn't mean anything because my memory is almost as bad as my spelling and just as selectively present. I do remember the first time I actively sat down to write a story though. I can't tell you how old I was, or the time of year, or anything that could even remotely place this memory solidly anywhere, but I can tell you that I was elated. I had just finished reading a book (again, couldn't tell you the specifics) set in the 1800's, when my wonderful hometown of Victoria, BC was still very new. I remember being fascinated with a scene where the main character and her best friend roll down a hill in their fancy Sunday dresses and get scolded for getting grass stains everywhere, mainly because I realized that I had, in fact, been to and rolled down that same hill! And even gotten in in trouble!! I don't actually remember what followed that realization but I did find a notebook a few years ago when I was cleaning out my disgusting old bedroom (I naturally veer more towards the bog-monster end of the cleanliness spectrum, although I've managed to morph into a relatively presentable one in recent years) with a few pages of what essentially amounts to a horrifyingly embarrassing self-insert 1800's fan-fiction. At the time I was so disgusted with my younger self's voice and the immeasurable amount of clichés that I threw it out without reading past the first page, and I still regret tossing it more than most other mistakes I've made, which is huge for me. I have made, and continue to make, a LOT of mistakes. Moral of the story? Don't throw away your old writing, no matter how much of a full-body cringe it gives you. That, and don't roll down a grassy hill in your Sunday best.

Back to the blog though.

"Why?" you may be asking. "Why fulfil yet another cliché? And by choice?" Well, dearest reader, I shall tell you, after I pull out my typewriter, put on my too-big glasses, and feed the cat (oh, and google which way the accent goes in cliché). I write, so therefore I am? Or something to that effect (or is it affect? It's definitely effect, right? I feel like I should know this). I am naturally a communicator. I love people, and I love communicating with and being in contact with people, but people quite often don't love me. I discovered through a Series of Unfortunate Events (both the book series and an actual progression of incidents) that the world is a lot more bitter and negative than the ideal seen through the lens of childhood. People can be cruel, and as a tall, overweight, and gay bog monster with marked skin, chipped teeth, no filter and an affinity for instruments almost as large as myself, I found that out pretty early on. Several life-threatening disorders later and I had pretty much given up on human contact. That is until I discovered Social Media and it blew my disease riddled brain right out of my body (no pun intended- suicide is a serious thing, but I have a very dark sense of humour. So, I guess, pun cautiously intended?). After that, it was a pretty slippery slope. And now, I find myself here.

"Where is here?" you say, from the stool in the basement corner where I have had you tied up since last Tuesday. Well, Clementine (may I call you Clementine? It's such a whimsical name), let me just adjust that gag and I'll tell you! Here is still being determined. I'm 24 years old, which in the grand scheme of things is both too old (in some eyes) to be still figuring myself out, and too young to have accomplished anything. I've lived a lot of life in my 24 years though, and I've finally reached a place where I'm comfortable enough (barely comfortable, but still here nonetheless) in this, the online writing community, to hold my own. Writing at its most basic is about communicating, and as someone who may indeed qualify for the worst conversationalist in the universe (I am quite good at deep intellectual conversations and talking about difficult things but I'm more likely to stand there in panicked silence than willingly attempt small talk), I have a lot to communicate.

So, this blog (gah! I gag a little every time I call it that), or this notepad of sorts is a bit of an experiment. I have no idea what I'm going to write about or who I'm writing for, I just hope that one person reads it.

Stop struggling, Clementine. You're only making it harder on yourself.

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