Moving Forward with Project 14 in the Rearview

So.

I’m done.

It’s my birthday tomorrow. I feel like the older I get, the fewer things I can be proud of doing each year, and that scares me. Sure, there are things that I’ve done well, but those are routine. Project 14 is the exception to that. What was supposed to be a two week introspection has become an eight month thought experiment. Has it been a success? Well, it’s done, so I suppose it is.  Even if it wasn’t timely, I feel inordinately proud of myself for finishing the damn thing. I think I’ve produced something, as haphazard and rambling and slapdash as it is, that is worth rereading. Whenever I feel down or less energized or a little lost, I think this Project 14 will be my anchor, my rock, to come back to and a foundation on which I can build a stairway to heaven.

Was it perfect? Of course not. I reread them all tonight, and winced at some of the formatting and some spelling mistakes I’ve made. I also noticed that I accidentally missed counting one of my mother’s siblings in my first post, because she has four of them. Oops (I guess I forgot my uncle). Sometimes the prose feels unwieldy, sometimes too pretentious. Sometimes my ideas are too rambling and didn’t come out as accurate as I would’ve liked, sometimes… well maybe they were just too clear and blunt.

Some people have told me that they think I’m brave for sharing so much with the internet. I honestly don’t feel brave. A little stupid, maybe, but honest, which was I going for. I wanted to be honest, and straightforward, and I didn’t see any point as representing myself as perfect or only slightly flawed, because I’m human. Maybe you’ll think less of me for telling you my weaknesses, my idiocy, my feelings of despair or terror, when I’ve been wrong, but to continue being honest with you, I don’t care. Just because I don’t tell anyone doesn’t change the fact that I’ve made them. I hope you can see me as someone with a story to tell, a beginning to find, and just a pretty good, but not perfect, human being. But that’s up to you; I’ve made peace with the fact that I can’t dictate what others feel about me, nor can others dictate their opinions to me

Looking back, though, that this is one of the only things I can be really proud of completing makes me want to do more extraordinary things. I don’t want life to be just a humdrum expected series of events. I want to be able to look back, next year at this time, and say “I am proud to have written these things, I am proud to have thought these things, and I am proud to have done these things.” I think I’ll start recording things too; memory is more efficient if you outsource some of it.

As to where this blog is going, I think I’ll continue to make it a personal, semi-public diary. I have some ideas for things I want to write about it, but in the end it’ll still reflect me as a person, so if you’re looking just to follow a feminist blog, or a polisci blog, or a writing blog, or a thinking blog, you’re out of luck, because I’m not just a feminist, political opinionist, writer or thinker. That being said, I’ll probably catagorize everything so you can ignore what you don’t like. While I dislike the idea of being compartmentalized, I really can’t force people to read what they don’t want to read. And who knows, maybe you’ll see something else you like. Still, in the end, this blog is still just for me, to track my development over time, to record my insights, to give me an area to vent and fume and discover I’m wrong. I’d like to hear more from the strangers who apparently follow this blog, though; I’m humbled by the people I don’t know following me or liking and commenting on my stuff.

Some things will be projects, some will be series. Projects will have an over arching story to tell, like Project 14 was cataloguing where I am where I start. Series will just be posts with commonalities. I suppose I chose to do things this way because it’ll help move me along. When I’m stuck for what to write, I can pick a series or a project and just hammer something out. And yes, I’m still working by the maxim that done is always better than perfect, even in writing, no matter what Annie Dillard says, because there’s always editing.

So, while I will write a better introductory page and reshuffle around the pages of my blog a bit, and probably redesign it again to make this clearer, I’ll briefly sketch out some of the Projects and Series I’m thinking about.

The Foxy Insights series: The parable of the fox and the hedgehog is that the hedgehog knows one thing well, while the fox knows many things. Therefore, when I write my foxy insights, I am not purporting to be an expert pundit on anything (nor am I trying to be sexy); I’m just trying to give insight on a wide range of topics, from feminism and politics, to trivialities and internet culture. A lot of these will probably be highly opinionated rants, but please feel free to try and change my mind or present me with an alternate view, just be logical about it. I may or may not agree with you, as is my prerogative, but I do want to hear it.

The Book (Week)end series: I’ve made a goal of reading a new, interesting book once a week, and I’d like to write reviews of them. It’ll help keep me honest, and force me to be coherent in my opinions and views. Also, I welcome book recommendations!

The Letter to Myself series: I actually found writing to myself incredibly liberating, so I think I’ll use that format when I want to say something to myself, past, present or future. I may laugh myself sick over their pretension and naivity when I grow up, but hey, at least I’ll be laughing.

The Written Gems series: Each story I write is a hard fought gem mined from the depths of my mind and experience, so I call them written gems. Uncut, unpolished and unrefined they might be, but to me, each has it’s own shine.

The Everyday Artist series: I like Art history; it’s something I’ve spent a lot of time with. I’d like to highlight paintings I like and don’t like, and just write about art from a layman’s perspective.

Project Finding God… Maybe: I’d like to chronicle my experinces and struggles with Christianity. Please don’t read it expecting a hallelujah moment, because every inch towards Christianity will come with no end of questioning and scruitiny. Also, my highly unorthodox and developing view of Christianity might make you uncomfortable.

Project “Are You My Voice?”: This title comes from a chapter in Lean In, where Sheryl Sandberg questions the wisdom of asking someone to be your mentors; mentorship relationships, like writing voices, are supposed to develop naturally. However, I want to try challenging myself to write in the voices of certain authors and time periods, and steal what I like from each in an effort to find my own voice. We’ll see if this one ever has an end either.

Project 24: This is an old project that I’m picking up again, but basically I want to write a monologue for every hour of the day. It’s just a fun challenge, as well, and gives me a chance to write in different speaking voices, instead of written ones.

That’s quite a bit to start with, and I’ll probably add and pause and restart projects as time passes. I’m also thinking about a five word story project that incorporates a new a challenging word every time. I won’t restrict myself and push through one project or series at time. Still, it gives me some structure and planning, and you a glimpse of the rabbit hole you’ll fall down if you read these.

Welcome to my wonderland!

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