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  • Writer's pictureAshley Lande

Hello, big bloggy world!

From the dawn of my conscious memory, I always wanted to be an artist, not a writer. Artists seemed so very deep, mysterious, alluring, decadent, adventurous; cerebral in an unhinged, mercurial, non-academic way. I believed they had license to be ruinously self-indulgent, and were exempt from the normal rules of decorum and mundane functions such as bill-paying and DMV visits, the stifling practicalities of the banal world inhabited by other, non-artist people. Artists! They lived in vivid color and libertine freedom.

What I wanted least, on the other hand, was to be a writer: that kind of pallid dorkwad whose self-consciousness is like a hall of mirrors, neverending and exasperatingly egoic... One who practically herniates herself with excitement when her interlibrary loans come in, was voted "best vocabulary" in her senior yearbook, who leafs through a new book with an expression of near-ecstasy as she inhales deeply the indescribable synesthesiastic bouquet of "Fresh Book", who had ample time to read gluttonously in high school because she never got invited to any parties, who was so enamored of British literature that at 16 she (mostly) inadvertently developed an affected pseudo-British accent that prompted people to frequently ask whether she was from New Zealand or something, and not Blue Springs, Missouri. Oh wait, what? Ha ha. HA. You thought I was talking about myself! Good HEAVENS, no! But... you know. You know the type.

So, I desperately didn't want to be who I was. But words and books were all I had, and they became a shield. Sure, I was chubby and acne-plagued, but I knew what "lachrymose" meant, dang it, and I took every chance to lord what I perceived as my meager advantage over other girls. Nevermind that a large vocabulary has virtually no currency among teenage boys...

Words became an end in themselves, which is so tragically misguided it's risible. ("Risible" is a fancy word for "funny"... apologies to Fancy Nancy. I have a five-year-old daughter). I still remember the first time I heard Bob Dylan sing "she's read too many books, she's got nails inside her head" and I realized my unique dysfunction, which was not so very unique. I was overeducated and cynical. I'd made words an idol, missed the forest for the trees, put the horse before the cart, etc. I was all style and no substance. I actually believed there was some intellectual singularity that could be achieved through words that would save me and give me satisfaction at long last. I always displayed my bookshelves prominently because I wanted people to know that I had read many books because that was my identity. What a crappy identity! Thank God - he chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. He chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." - 1 Corinthians 1:18

I hope, now, I have something worthwhile to say. I hope the spirit speaks through me. I hope my words bless and are just the right amount of salty and shot through with light. This isn't my first rodeo in Blogtown, but the first one, which I wrote in very sporadically from my early twenties on, is too littered with new-agey chakra prattle to be public. Maybe someday I'll republish Arrow's birth story, I dunno. But for now, my solemn promises to you vis-a-vis this particular blogging experience is to never address you as "dear reader", refer to my writing as "musings", or use the word "literally" as a superlative. Now let us jump headlong with rapturous joy into this big beautiful blogosphere!!!

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