There are probably very few of you that recognize that quote. It’s actually the tail-end of a long rambling (probably improvised) line delivered by Chevy Chase in one of my all-time favorite movies, Christmas Vacation.
Now this is not a fancy, high budget, Oscar winning film by any means, and that’s why I like it. It’s not supposed to be a movie that leaves you on the edge of your seat, or trying to figure out the complex plot, or even weeping into your sleeve because the performances have forever changed you. The only thing it’s supposed to do is entertain and make you laugh until you pee yourself. The movie is honest in its purpose—authentic.
It’s this idea that has me thinking and has for awhile. See, I started this blog because it was something I was “supposed to do.” So I dove in like I do with many things, without a real plan and began to splash around when I had time. Now I still don’t have time for it, but when I do choose to write about something I’m having trouble narrowing it down. What am I supposed to write about?
I know that if I do write about something I have to feel passionate about it. That is the only rule I have for myself right now. There are a lot of “mom” blogs out there that bitch and moan about their days and how only chardonnay hidden in their Starbucks cup, gets them through. I don’t want that (and besides, I don’t drink chardonnay).
The other blogs are typically industry blogs; and I LOVE my work, but I don’t want to write about writing. In fact, I can’t read industry blogs because they freak me out. Studying about all the things I could be doing wrong and seeing how many other people are out there competing with me does not take me to a pretty place (makes me put rum in that Starbucks cup).
The rest of the blogs can be thrown into groups that cover hobbies, belief systems and the diary blogs that divulge all the details of so-in-so’s camping trip to Egypt’s armpit. None of these are what I really want to write about. But what do I want to write about? Who do I want to be in the blogosphere?
I want to be Christmas Vacation. I want to be honest and authentic. I want to write my truth on what I find inspiring in the moment. That’s safe territory when I’m yapping about cars or some adventure I’ve taken, but what about opinions and personal beliefs? Once you post your most impassioned opinions about something it is out there forever. As an adult, this should be fine, but I’m an adult that writes books for teenagers that still live under their parents’ roofs and rules.
What if I write a post about one of my beliefs that goes completely against the grain of say the conservative public at large? My book hits the shelves and suddenly this post makes it to one parent who takes it to another who puts it in the hands of just the right person at their large church and next thing you know they’re holding an entire lecture on why my book should be banned due to my personal beliefs (don’t laugh, my mother-in-law’s church did this to convince all the parents to ban The Golden Compass).
So where do I draw the line and where do I push the envelope? I’ve always said that I’m not Stephanie Meyers. That isn’t a stab at her, I just write differently, as in my characters curse and some have had sex before marriage. I don’t want to stifle who I am and what I believe in, but I don’t want to shoot myself in the foot before my book even goes on sale. Lord knows I have enough skeletons in my closet to fill a cemetery, but most of the witnesses have been silenced…I mean, taken vows of silence in their convents. Should I mute myself and dilute the person I am so I don’t potentially rock the boat, or do I scream “fuck it” and go out with both guns blazing?
I’m pretty sure I know the answer. It all lies in what kind of example I want to be for my kids. I think honesty and bravery should always win out, it’s just taking that first step to click off the safety on the guns.
“Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I’d like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?” Clark Griswald