I am asking myself a number of questions as I ease back into blogging this new, fresh year. Should I blog? Do I have it in me to try again? What am I passionate about? What are my goals? The starting point, at first elusive, was right in front of me.
The name of this blog is “Joy and Moxie,” which has been my creative philosophy for the last two years. It’s pinned to the cork board near my desk, scribbled whimsically on various surfaces and hanging on a sign advertising Moxie, the soft-drink from Maine. It’s everywhere, and because it’s everywhere, I began to take it for granted, to forget why it was so important to me in the first place. This is a perfect opportunity to go back to the beginning.
So I translated it into Latin:
In English, “joy and moxie” is whimsical and sweet. In Latin, the phrase is has more weight, focus. Cum gaudio et virtute. As moxie was probably an invention of the last century, I chose to translate it as “courage”, virtus. Also an option was animus, for spirit or energy. The phrase could easily be cum gaudio et animo. I’m sticking with virtus; it has more impetus, and courage impels the spirit to act. Courage is what I need right now, and I will never stop needing it.
When Carrie Fisher passed away just over a year ago, a number of her inspiring and taking-no-one’s-crap quotes flooded my twitter feed. The one that stands out for me is “Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.” I don’t know the context of this quote, but I have the sense that she was talking about creativity and art and stepping outside that much-talked-about comfort zone. I have it posted on my corkboard, too, as a daily reminder that I can do this hard thing, to focus on the act, not how awkward it feels. Awkward, strange, uncomfortable come with the territory.
I am good at making up excuses and rules for doing things a certain way; some of it is common sense, some of it is habit, some of it is a bulwark built up by long-ingrained fears. My struggle with the blog has been characterized by “I hate writing about myself” and “I’m no good at blogging,” which spills over into “I like my privacy” and “I have nothing important to share.” These have kept me safe, but they have also kept me just a little bit stagnant. I have to face reality: in order to be a better blogger – or rather a more flexible and well-rounded writer, which is the ultimate goal – I have to blog more. I have to take a few risks. I have to open up more on the subjects that are near and dear to my heart rather than giving into the habit of “I don’t write that” or “I’ll butcher that.” Why the heck not try, Jillian? Why not try? Who is stopping you? It’s not from lack of passion; it’s from lack of moxie. A moxie-deficiency.
In other words, simply I need to be taking extra doses of Vitamins C and D this winter, I also need extra moxie. Not the soft-drink. Actual courage, verve. If anyone had it, certainly it was Carrie Fisher. She knew what she was talking about, and I trust her on this.
For this year and this blog, I impel myself to be honest, open and human. To learn. To grow. To break out from behind those barriers of “I can’t do that because…” This is the year I will be querying my novel, and that opens up a new world of risks and setbacks, briars grown over the path to publication. It’s going to take a sword and some self-respect to cut my way through. There is no other way around. The blog records my journey through it, and allows others in. This is the point in the story where I need allies, and this is as good a place as any to find them. This is not the time to hide!
This isn’t a battle; it’s an adventure. Let’s go forward cum gaudio et virtute!