Posted by: jevcat | February 10, 2010

New Beginnings

A snowy day and a new beginning…

When I was younger I had hopes of producing a Great American Novel, but in recent years I have realized that I’m a sprinter, not a distance runner – that and I’ve finally conceded I have no aptitude whatsoever for writing dialogue.  No amount of good resolutions – including those made when unemployed (which I am yet again), where time should not have been an issue – have produced a steady writing regimen, and I have realized lately that I do need to write, for myself if no one else.  Hence, a blog.  As belated new year’s resolutions go, it’s a lot cheaper than a home gym, especially if it winds up not being used much…

So here I sit, facing a still largely blank screen, and thinking about fear.  And I’m reminded of childhood, when timed essay questions would always produce an initial deer-in-the-headlights response from me.  I would stare in panic at the blank sheet of paper, nervously glancing sideways at fellow students scribbling away and then up at the clock, each tick of the second hand feeling almost like an accusation.  Eventually – sometimes more than halfway through the allotted time – the words would suddenly come, as if from outside me, spilling out onto the page as I struggled to keep up with them.  I might only finish just as the teacher called “Time”, but I always did finish – and usually got an “A” – or one of the prizes, if it was a contest.

Fear – or at least anxiety – is something familiar to me, and, I think, to many women.  I once signed up for a class in using yoga to manage fear and found myself in a small studio packed with women.  When the teacher arrived, she looked around the room with a bemused expression and said, “Well, this wasn’t intended as a women-only class…” 

It was with some surprise that, in my early twenties, I discovered I was not the only one who had to fight down the fear (of what, I don’t think we ever knew) in order to, for example, ask a bookstore clerk to reach a desired volume from a higher shelf – at least I did get to the point where I could comfortably ask; in my teens, it was usually beyond me.  Maturity has some benefits (though from sheer stubbornness and independence I usually still will attempt to scale a shelf to reach something before asking).

For years, I thought of fear as my personal dragon (medieval history and literature having been an area of concentration in college probably contributed to the choice of image), fighting my way to the point where I felt it was something I kept manageably caged.  I found a card with a wonderful Victorian drawing of Siegfried and a conquered dragon, which I tucked in the frame of the mirror on my bedroom vanity, where I would see it every morning.  Eventually, I realized caging the dragon was not enough; there was always the chance it might break through.  I needed to tame my dragon – befriend it, even.  It has, after all, been my companion for a very long time.

It’s an on-going quest, and writing is part of it.  Writing about it is only a very small part; it’s the writing itself that’s the important part.



  1. Congratulations, Janet. I hope you keep it up and I will try to keep up with you by reading it.

    I like your reflective style of writing and maybe that’s your niche.

  2. What a beautifully written piece! You certainly were underutilized at Family Circle (which doesn’t sruprise me at all)!

    I have spent my life fighting and sometimes conquering the fact that I am my own worst enemy – as are we all.

    Best of luck on this new endeavor – I’ll be watching!

    XOXOXO Kathi

  3. Nice start. Very nice, indeed.

    And I know the postcard of which you speak. The dragon’s been waiting to become friends. Will probably be a good one, in fact. And then, forevermore, a dragon’s got your back.

    Just don’t stand in front of it when in attack mode…

    • LOL, definitely will try to remember not to stand in front.

  4. You’re off to a wonderful start. I look forward to reading the ongoing adventures of jevcat! Oh, and guys are the real weenies. They just try to cover their fear with a lot of blundering bluster; sometimes succeed.

  5. Hi Jan,
    I’m always happy to support your artistic endeavors and this one is wonderful. Your writing style easily conversational I feel like I’m either talking to you …….. or the chick who does the voiceovers for Desperate Housewives!!!
    Keep writing and I’ll keep reading.

  6. Absolutely beautifully written! Congratulations, Janet. I am proud of your accomplishment. I forsee a monthly column in a noted magazine. You wrote from the heart in a way that we all can relate to and you enabled us to honestly see ourselves. Remember this moment. It is the beginning…

  7. Janet
    As always , you write beautifully and from the heart , look forward to reading more.
    Love from Brighton, England Mark xx

  8. I love the way you write. I could always count on you for a HONEST answer. We are all fearful of something even if we don’t know what they are. You are already noted in my favorites.

    Keep up the good work.


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