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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

First Kiss (and special thanks for the new blog design!)

jenmichel@me.com

Writing is like kissing. A first kiss, that it. Your very first one. (I was thirteen.)

He's leaning in. You're thinking of your body as it's shaking. You're willing it to stop, begging your insides to stay clam. Keep cool. You rehearse the mechanics of kissing as you've learned it from your friends and wonder if, when his lips touch yours, you'll know what to do.

A half-second of approach. It's enough time to remember: tilt your head, close your eyes.

Lips.

You want to leave your body and stare this moment in the face.

Am I doing this right?

You untangle.

This moment was much easier in the takeoff. No one prepared you to land. You disappear giggling, your cheeks flushed, your body electrified.

It's not about lips at all, this first kiss. It's about you. You growing up. You deciding to take on your own clumsiness. You deciding you were up for a thrill. You leaving some child skin behind.

And writing is like kissing.

A first kiss, that is.

There's all the anticipation of doing it and the rehearsing of the mechanics.

There's the wishing you could leave your skin.

Am I doing this right?

It's not about sentences. It's about you. You taking on your clumsiness. You feeling, you daring, you leaning in.

You, leaving some child skin behind.

* * * * *

"Who will teach me to write? a reader wanted to know.

The page, the page, that eternal blankness, the blankness of eternity which you cover slowly, affirming time’s scrawl as a right and your daring as necessity; the page, which you cover woodenly, ruining it, but asserting your freedom and power to act, acknowledging that you ruin everything you touch but touching it nevertheless, because acting is better than being here in mere opacity; the page, which you cover slowly with the crabbed thread of your gut; the page in the purity of its possibilities; the page of your death, against which you pit such flawed excellences as you can muster with all your life’s strength: that page will teach you to write."

--From Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

* * * * *

This blog is my blank page, my awkward daring, my clumsy take-off.

Thank you to Ryan, my husband who listens and loves. He's been nudging me from behind. I've needed his voice. And his kiss. And I have them both. Thank you, and I love you.